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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Giving Kids Wit, Charm and Hope

“One rainy Sunday when I was in the third grade, I picked up a book to look at the pictures and discovered that even though I did not want to, I was reading.  I have been a reader ever since.” – Beverly Cleary

Cleary, who turned 103 this month, authored more than 30 books about and for children, and generations of children worldwide have embraced them.  Nearly 100 million copies of her works have been sold and they’re still going strong, as is Cleary, who celebrated her birthday on "Drop Everything and Read Day"  (April 12th).

Among her character creations are Henry Huggins, Ribsy, Ralph S. Mouse, Beezus and Ramona – names embedded in our Kids’ Lit Lexicon.   Among her dozens of awards are the Newberry Medal, the National Book Award. The National Medal of Arts, the “Living Legend” Award from the Library of Congress, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal.  
                             It was working as a children’s librarian that first made Cleary aware she wanted to write children’s books.  Her mother told her that kids like stories filled with wit and charm, so she created stories she hoped would fit that profile while also sparking kids’ interest in reading.

She said she also knew that kids are sometimes confused or frightened by the world around them and feel deeply about things that adults can easily dismiss.   “I didn't start out writing to give children hope,” she said, “but I'm glad that through my books some of them found it.”

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