Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Birthday, Beverly

Who could possibly forget Ramona?  And Klickitat Street!  I know I never could.

She was one of the first fictional characters I truly connected with as a kid, and I happily devoured all things Beverly Cleary throughout my elementary school years.

Ramona and Beezus?  They were the gateway.  After tearing through everything from Ramona the Pest, to Ramona Quimby, Age 8, to Ramona the Brave, along with all the other Ramona books, I ventured out to some of Cleary's other characters.

From Ramona, I meandered my way through Henry Huggins, Henry and Ribsy, Ellen Tebbits, Socks the cat, hell I even read Otis Spofford!

Beverly Cleary was that author for me.  You know the one.  The author that stirred to life the spark that was the start of a life long love of reading.

Some of you will chuckle at the irony that it wasn't Judy Blume.  (A few of you will understand that statement.)

So, why the sudden attention to Beverly Cleary?  Well, she's rapidly approaching a massive milestone.  Beverly Cleary is on the verge of becoming a centenarian.  She'll turn 100 years old on April 12, 2016.

Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Incredible, right?  What a ripe opportunity for teachers, librarians, and anyone who works with kids to introduce or re-introduce Beverly Cleary to another generation.

If I was still in the classroom, I know I'd be planning a themed unit on my very first favorite author!

On that note, happy birthday Beverly!  From a long-time fan, and one of (I'm sure millions) of life-long readers that were born from your Ramona.

Is there any way to truly thank someone who was one of the driving forces behind my evolution from fledgling reader to full-on book nerd?

How about a sincere thank you for creating readers by sharing your stories and imagination with the world?  For bringing to life characters who would lure in countless young readers year after year.  For being an advocate for literacy.  And for making an indelible mark on my reading life.  Happiest of birthday wishes to you as you teeter at the edge of your one hundredth year, Mrs. Cleary!

So, take a moment to ponder.  Who was that author for you?  I'd love to know!

Ta-ta for now.

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