If you were a child of the ‘80s chances are you grew up following the adventures of Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins. So many great childhood classics that kids today can still enjoy were penned by the very talented and apparently immortal Beverly Cleary who just turned 103.
It appears Cleary is as timeless as the dozens of treasured children’s books she’s written. The author just celebrated her 103rd birthday (April 12) and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. In a 2016 interview with Jenna Bush Hager in honor of her 100th birthday Cleary said she didn’t intend to make it so long, in fact she once said she never planned to live past 80.
Perhaps her longevity has something to do with her outlook on life. Much like one her most popular characters, Ramona, Cleary has always done things in her own way. As a child she didn’t learn to read until she was in second grade and as an author she knew she didn’t want her characters to conform to certain children’s fiction standards.
“I was so annoyed with the books in my childhood,” she said in an interview with Reading Rockets, “because children always learned to be better children, and in my experience, they didn’t. They just grew, and so I started Ramona, and — and she has never reformed. And she — she’s really not a naughty child, in spite of the title of Ramona the Pest. Her intentions are good, but she has a lot of imagination, and things sometimes don’t turn out the way she had expected.”
Much like herself Cleary’s books have spanned generations with dozens of awards and 91 million copies sold, her timeless stories are still popular choices among young readers whose parents grew up on the same books.
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