Beverly Cleary: Authentic Childhood

Today we're celebrating the accomplishments of Beverly Cleary, an author whose books have appealed to young readers everywhere.  The reason why is simple--she wrote conflicts and relationships that felt authentic to children.   The kids written in these stories act like friends and classmates we know.  They were imperfect, and their growing pains reflect the struggles young people face.

Henry Huggins is an ordinary kid who does what he can to take care of a stray dog he adopted.  He's not the quietly brave Marty Pearson trying to offer a home for a wayward Shiloh--he's just a kid that works a paper route and is friends with other kids in his neighborhood.

Friends like Beezus and Ramona, a superb example of siblings who don't always get along.  Honestly, they're butting heads most of the time, but they still love one another in their own particular way.  While Beezus was a studious and clever girl who tried to be like the grown ups in her life, Ramona was a rambunctious, creative girl with a mischievous streak.  She quickly became Cleary's most popular character, starring in eight books.  The shenanigans Ramona gets into are both funny and relatable, from accidentally breaking a raw egg on her head, to slipping concern notes into her father's cigarette packages, to customizing her "Q"s in cursive.

If Maggie were in Ramona's class, she may have had less of a reluctance learning cursive.  Still, it's a skill she'd need to learn to understand the curriculum in class or read the notes her teacher asks her to deliver.  Leigh Botts practiced his writing skills while communicating with Mr. Henshaw, and his letters and journal entries were the tools he needed to work through his parents' divorce and other life changes.  Because sometimes talking to someone real or imaginary can help you discover yourself.

And sometimes, friends are made through unusual circumstances.  Ralph secretly lives in a resort hotel and befriends Keith, a young guest who lets him play with a toy motorcycle.  Ralph is also a mouse.  He has to navigate his friendship with Keith, avoid being discovered by hotel staff, and test his bravery when his friend truly needs him.  Through it all, he's able to find something that truly belongs to him and affirm his love for adventure and defying danger.

These are but some of the books penned by Beverly Cleary, and they're all so fun to read.  Whether you relate to the determined Henry, diligent Beezus, rambunctious Ramona, rebellious Maggie, introspective Leigh, or even daredevil Ralph, there's a possible favorite in this author's catalogue.

And, if you would like to learn more about this amazing author, we have a biography!
Just Like Beverly

Thank you for reading!