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Beverly Cleary, Age 104

Posted 04/07/21 by Eric P

Beverly Cleary, who died March 25 at the age of 104, was once named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and rarely has such a distinction seemed so well-deserved.  Cleary started writing for young readers in 1950 and somehow, unlike many of her contemporaries, her books never got dated or out-of-fashion – or, for that matter, out of print. That may partly be because of her commitment to writing grounded, realistic stories about recognizably unremarkable people. (Except, you know, for the ones about a mouse who rides around on a motorcycle.)  

The kids in books like Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Dear Mr Henshaw didn’t have wild adventures or live out larger-than-life fantasies. Their parents had big messy arguments and struggled with job loss and money troubles – real adult problems that affected their kids in real plausible ways.  Characters dealt with divorce and self-esteem and mortality. Ramona failed to manage her impulses and Beezus was moody. Cleary’s thorough empathy and her tendency to treat characters like real, flawed people with complexity and integrity kept these storylines from curdling into melodrama, and also mostly helped her avoid the sexist representations that plague some other books of her vintage.  

Beverly Cleary may be gone, but as long as there are books in the library, kids will continue to recognize themselves among the denizens of Klickitat Street.

Cover of Henry Huggins

Henry Huggins

ebook audio   |   ebook Spanish   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audiobook
Cover of Ellen Tebbits

Ellen Tebbits

eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Henry and Beezus

Henry and Beezus

Book on CD   |   eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Otis Spofford

Otis Spofford

eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Henry and Ribsy

Henry and Ribsy

Braille   |   eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Beezus and Ramona

Beezus and Ramona

Book on CD   |   Braille   |   eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Fifteen

Fifteen

hoopla
Cover of Henry and the Paper Route

Henry and the Paper Route

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Cover of The Luckiest Girl

The Luckiest Girl

hoopla
Cover of Emily’s Runaway Imagination

Emily’s Runaway Imagination

eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Henry and the Clubhouse

Henry and the Clubhouse

eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Ribsy

Ribsy

eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of The Mouse and the Motorcycle

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Braille   |   DVD   |   eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   ebook Spanish   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio   |   Large Print
Cover of Mitch and Amy

Mitch and Amy

eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Ramona the Pest

Ramona the Pest

eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Runaway Ralph

Runaway Ralph

Book on CD   |   eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Socks

Socks

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Cover of Ramona the Brave

Ramona the Brave

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Cover of Ramona and Her Father

Ramona and Her Father

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Cover of Ramona and Her Mother

Ramona and Her Mother

eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   eBook Spanish   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Book on CD   |   Braille   |   eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio   |   Large Print   |   Playaway
Cover of Ralph S. Mouse

Ralph S. Mouse

Book on CD   |   eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Dear Mr. Henshaw

Dear Mr. Henshaw

Braille   |   eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Ramona Forever

Ramona Forever

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Cover of Muggie Maggie

Muggie Maggie

eAudiobook   |   eBook   |   hoopla   |   hoopla audio
Cover of Strider

Strider

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Cover of Ramona’s World

Ramona’s World

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Cover of Jean and Johnny Jean and Johnny
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Cover of Sister of the Bride Sister of the Bride
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Cleary also wrote a little bit about her own life in accounts that offer compelling insights into how she came to choose to write the kinds of stories she wrote.

Cover of A Girl from Yamhill

A Girl from Yamhill

hoopla
Cover of My Own Two Feet: A Memoir

My Own Two Feet: A Memoir

hoopla

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