Famous children’s book author Beverly Cleary dies at 104
Published: 10:51 AM, 27 March 2021 Updated: 12:32 PM, 27 March 2021
Beverly Cleary, the creator of characters such as Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins, has died at 104
America’s renowned children’s book author Beverly Cleary, the creator of characters such as Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins, has died at 104.
“Beverly Cleary breathed her last on Thursday at her home in Carmel, California,” Beverly’s publisher Harper Collins Publishers said in a statement.
The author said she found aspirations of writing when she was in sixth-grade, however, she first became a librarian. While working at a library in Yakima, Washington – a young boy provided the impetus for her writing career when he asked Cleary where he could find books about “kids like us”, her publisher quoted her as saying.
Cleary decided she wanted to write about ordinary “grubby kids”, she told the Los Angeles Times, rather than the English schoolboys and girls who seemed to dominate the plots of children’s literature at the time.
“I wanted to read about the sort of boys and girls that I knew in my neighborhood and in my school. In my childhood, children’s books seemed to be about English children or pioneer children, but that wasn’t what I wanted to read,” she told NPR in 1999.
Beverly Cleary published more than 40 books, with more than 85 million copies sold. They were translated into 29 languages.
“Henry Huggins,” her first book, about a third-grader who adopts a skinny stray dog named Ribsy, was an immediate hit. From there, she wrote more books about Henry and his friends on Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon.
Her most famous character was “Ramona Quimby”, a young girl full of sass and moxie, living by the motto: “A little person sometimes had to be a little bit noisier and a little bit more stubborn in order to be noticed at all.”
Besides a long list of literary accolades, Cleary was named a “Living Legend” by the US Library of Congress in 2000, and awarded the National Medal of Art from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2003.
With titles like “Henry Huggins” (1950) and “Ramona and Her Father” (1978), Cleary’s works explored everyday life through the eyes of children and she did it with wit and sympathy, touching on topics ranging from lunchroom antics and sibling rivalries to a parent’s job loss.
Source: AFP, Reuters, Daily Star