Author Spotlight

Celebrating 100 Years of Beverly Cleary

There are a lot of ways youth-serving library staff are different from each other, but there are usually at least three things we have in common:

  1. We love good books.
  2. We love good authors.
  3. We love good parties.

This April we’ve all got a chance to combine all those things together!  April 12 is the 100th birthday of beloved author Beverly Cleary, and we’ve got ideas for celebrating!

Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!
Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

While these days she lives in California, Mrs. Cleary’s stories of the kids, families, and pets populating Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon, live on in the imagination of readers everywhere. She was one of the first authors to write about everyday kids doing the things many kids can relate to, like dealing with bullies or pining after a new pet. She was also the first person to write about a mouse riding a motorcycle (as far as I can tell she’s the only person to write about that, which makes it even more of a reason to celebrate)!

Librarians from all over Cleary’s birth state of Oregon brainstormed ways to celebrate the author and her books, and you can find a whole battalion of ideas to get your programming juices flowing here. Maybe a vehicle petting zoo in honor of Ralph S. Mouse? An animal adoption event with your local county animal services agency in honor of Ribsy and Socks? Perhaps making animals out of alphabet letters in honor of Ramona Quimby (age 8 eternally)?  Oregon Public Broadcasting will also be airing a special Art Beat episode highlighting Mrs. Cleary’s career, including a brand new interview with her and with authors she’s influenced (spoilers: one of them is JUDY BLUME!!!).

To tide you over ‘til April, here are some fun Beverly Cleary facts that might come in handy at library (or pub) trivia:

  • Beverly Cleary’s first book was published in 1950 and the last in 1999, so her professional writing career spanned over 49 years!
  • She was a “reluctant reader” as a child until the wonderful combination of a great teacher and a great librarian turned her on to the joy of reading.
  • Several of her books were recognized by the Newbery Committee, winning the Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw in 1984, as well as Honors for Ramona and Her Father in 1978 and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 in 1982.
  • She wrote teen romances (Fifteen, The Luckiest Girl, Jean and Johnny) as well as fiction novels, picture books and autobiographies.
  • Her birthday is a holiday recognized in many schools around the U.S.—  Drop Everything And Read (D.E.A.R.) Day.
  • She was a librarian before she was an author!


bio picOur guest blogger today is Natasha Forrester Campbell. Natasha is currently a Youth Librarian with at Multnomah County’s Hollywood Library (Ramona’s neighborhood library!) in Portland, OR, and she loves working in libraries big and small. When not geeking out on books, comic books, audiobooks, and other library delights, she can be found geeking out over comicons and dogs and searching for the perfect muffin recipe.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at


  1. Natasha Forrester Campbell

    Quick note: Judy Blume is one of the authors who has mentioned being influenced by Mrs. Cleary, but sadly her schedule didn’t have room for an interview for the Discovering Beverly Cleary special mentioned in the blog entry. Sorry for the confusion!

  2. Pingback: Happy 100th Birthday, Beverly Cleary! | Silly Librarian

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