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Beverly Atlee Cleary (April 12, 1916 – March 25, 2021) was a children’s and young adult literature author from the United States. Since her first book was released in 1950, 91 million copies of her works have been sold worldwide, making her one of America’s most successful authors.  Ramona Quimby and Beezus Quimby, Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy, and Ralph S. Mouse are some of her most well-known characters. The majority of Cleary’s works are set in the Grant Park area of northeast Portland, Oregon, where she grew up, and she is acknowledged as one of the first children’s authors to include emotional realism in the tales of her characters, who are frequently youngsters from middle-class homes. Cleary struggled in school as she adjusted from living in the country to living in the city, and her teacher placed her in a group for poor readers in first grade. “The first grade was divided into three reading groups—Bluebirds, Redbirds, and Blackbirds,” Cleary explained. I used to be a Blackbird. It was a humiliation to be a Blackbird. I desperately wanted to read but couldn’t.
She worked as a children’s librarian in Yakima, Washington, until 1940, and then as the post librarian at the US Army Hospital on Camp John T. Knight in Oakland, California, from 1942 to 1945, after graduating from the University of Washington in 1939. Before becoming a full-time children’s writer, she worked at Berkeley’s Sather Gate Book Shop. Cleary empathised with her young clientele who struggled to find books with characters they could relate to, and she struggled to find enough novels to recommend that would appeal to them as a children’s librarian. Cleary chose to start writing children’s books on characters that young readers could identify to after a few years of providing suggestions and conducting live storytelling in her capacity as librarian. According to Cleary, “I feel that children’s librarians have a “missionary spirit.” Children deserve high-quality literature, and librarians play a critical role in encouraging children to read and selecting appropriate novels.” Henry Huggins, the first of a series of imaginary chapter novels about Henry, his dog Ribsy, his neighbourhood friend Beezus, and her young sister Ramona, was published in 1950.
Cleary drew inspiration for the book from the times she wrote stories. Henry Huggins, like many of Cleary’s later works, is a storey about regular people living ordinary lives. It is based on Cleary’s own childhood memories, as well as youngsters she encountered while working as a librarian. Although her work was approved by Morrow, the first publisher to whom she sent it, it had been rejected previously, and Cleary had revised it to include the characters of Beezus and Ramona. In 1955, Cleary released his first novel featuring the Quimby sisters, Beezus and Ramona. She was invited to create a novel about a kindergarten pupil by a publisher. Cleary first objected since she had never attended kindergarten, but after the birth, she changed her mind. Cleary also authored two memoirs: A Girl from Yamhill (1988), about her childhood, and My Own Two Feet, about her college and adult years leading up to the publication of her first book (1995). “I’ve had an incredibly joyful career,” Cleary said in a 2011 interview with the Los Angeles Times at the age of 95.
Personal Profile of Beverly Cleary
- Name: Beverly Cleary
- Date of Birth: 12 April 1916
- Age: 104 Years
- Birth Sign: Aries
- Nationality: American
- Parents: Chester Lloyd Bunn, Mable Atlee Bunn
- Siblings: No siblings
- Birth Place/City: McMinnville, Oregon, United States
- Profession: Writer
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