Facts about Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary died at 104 years old
Born: April 12, 1916
Died: March 25, 2021
Best known as: The author of the Ramona books for children

     
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Beverly Cleary Biography

Name at birth: Beverly Atlee Bunn

Beverly Cleary was the beloved author of children’s books starring the rambunctious kids Beezus, Ramona, and Henry Huggins.

Beverly Cleary grew up in the towns of Yamhill and Portland in Oregon. She went to Chaffey Junior College for two years before graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 1938. She earned an added degree in library science from the University of Washington in 1939 and began working as a children’s librarian.

Her experience there led her to begin writing stories for the kinds of children she met every day and knew from her own childhood. She published her first book, Henry Huggins, in 1950. That led to further books about Huggins and his friend Beatrice “Beezus” Quimby and their adventures on Klickitat Street.  Ramona Quimby, the spunky younger sister of Beezus, eventually got her own books and became Cleary’s best-known character.

By the time of her death at age 104, Beverly Cleary had written more than 30 books for children, including The Mouse and The Motorcycle and the Newberry-winning Dear Mr. Henshaw. Cleary also published two memoirs, A Girl From Yamhill and My Own Two Feet. At her death, her publisher, HarperCollins, said that Cleary’s books had sold more than 85 million copies.

Extra credit

She was named Beverly Bunn at birth, and became Beverly Cleary after marrying Clarence Cleary, later an accountant, in 1940.  They remained married for 64 years until his death in 2004. They had twin children, Malcolm and Marianne, born in 1955… Beverly Cleary School, a public elementary school in Portland, Oregon, was named for her in 2008.


     

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