Legendary Children’s Author Beverly Cleary Passes at Age 104
I'm sad to say that I just read the news of the passing of legendary children's author, Beverly Cleary. According to an official press release from HarperCollins, Beverly passed away yesterday, March 25, 2021 at the age of 104 in Carmel, California - the place she had called home since the 60s.
To say that she lived a full and long life would be an understatement. If you don't recognize her name, I bet you'd recognize some of her beloved children's book characters - Henry Huggins, Ramona and Beezus Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse. I remember reading Ramona and Beezus books as a young girl and they were definitely some of my daughter's favorites too. That was the thing about Beverly Cleary's characters and her writing, they were timeless.
Beverly Cleary’s first book, Henry Huggins, was published in 1950, immediately setting a standard for realistic children’s fiction. More than forty published books later, Beverly Cleary has become beloved by generations of children. Mrs. Cleary has also inspired authors, including Judy Blume, to deal with the real issues in young readers’ lives. As the author and reviewer Ilene Cooper said in ALA Booklist, “When it comes to writing books kids love, nobody does it better.”
Miss Cleary one innumerable awards over her expansive career.
Mrs. Cleary has also been honored with the American Library Association’s 1975 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Catholic Library Association’s 1980 Regina Medal, and the University of Southern Mississippi’s 1982 Silver Medallion, all presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children’s literature. In addition, Mrs. Cleary was the 1984 United States author nominee for the prestigious international Hans Christian Andersen Award.
In 2000, to honor her invaluable contributions to children’s literature, Beverly Cleary was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress; in addition, she was awarded the 2003 National Medal of Art from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2009 her ever-popular Ramona series was made into a movie, Ramona and Beezus, and in 2010 she received the Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Award, marking the first time this honor has gone to an author of books for children.
This is such a tremendously sad loss to the literary world. Selling over 85 million copies, her books have been translated into twenty-nine different languages. A true testament to her ability to capture the magic of story telling in a way that could be relatable to all. No doubt that her beautiful spirit will be missed but she will live on forever in her words.
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