I am always late with birthdays. My family knows this about me. I will tell my sisters-in-law, "I have your birthday present wrapped and sitting on my kitchen counter. I keep forgetting to bring it to you." I always manage to give them their present before their next birthday rolls around, so no harm, no foul, right? Well, sorry Beverly Cleary, but I am running late on your birthday wishes.
On April 16th, Beverly Cleary turned 100 years old! Isn't that amazing? When Cleary was a child, she had trouble learning to read until her school librarian introduced her to books that interested her and she could really enjoy. Cleary then turned around and wrote some of the most iconic and classic American children's literature ever published, some of which probably served as that one magic book that inspired and encouraged a struggling reader to love the written word.
My favorite of her books has to be Dear Mr. Henshaw. I bought a new copy recently and reread it, this time as an adult, and it still holds true as a story that makes me laugh, cry, and grow in my perspective as a person. A lot of us love this book because it was voted as a "Teacher's Top 100 Books for Children" in 2007, and it won the 1984 Newbery Award.
It is the story of a boy named Leigh Botts. Leigh is given a school assignment to write a letter to a chosen author, asking them questions about their job and work, and to write a report about the author's response. With this project, a friendship of letters builds between Leigh and the author he chooses, Mr. Henshaw. Along with this story line, Leigh is also dealing with his parents' divorce, loneliness, and the pains of growing up and finding who you really are.
What is your favorite Beverly Cleary book? Are you a Ramona reader? Or are you more of a The Mouse and The Motorcycle fan? There are so many good ones!
recommended age: 9 and up