World Teen - Main Article
 
Signup Teachers & Parents
Beloved Author Passes
News Bytes 03/30/2021 58 Comments

Don’t stop now. Go ahead! Be readers all of your lives. — Beverly Cleary

Ramona Quimby. Henry Huggins. Ralph S. Mouse. Ribsy. The creator of all these memorable characters—book author Beverly Cleary—shared hilarious and often poignant memories of her Oregon childhood with millions in her children’s novels. Cleary passed into eternity last week. She was 104 years old.

Cleary’s publisher, HarperCollins, announced that the author died Thursday in Carmel Valley, California. She had lived there since the 1960s. No cause of death was given.

Cleary was born Beverly Bunn on April 12, 1916, in McMinnville, Oregon. She lived on a farm until her family moved to Portland when she was school-age. She was a slow reader, which she blamed on illness and a mean-spirited first-grade teacher—who disciplined her by snapping a pointer across the backs of her hands.

“I had chicken pox, smallpox, and tonsillitis in the first grade and nobody seemed to think that had anything to do with my reading trouble,” Cleary said. By sixth or seventh grade, “I decided that I was going to write children’s stories.”

Cleary graduated from junior college in Ontario, California, and the University of California at Berkeley. She studied library science at the University of Washington and worked as the children’s librarian at Yakima, Washington, and post librarian at the Oakland Army Hospital during World War II.

Cleary didn’t start writing books until her early 30s. She wrote Henry Huggins, published in 1950. Children worldwide came to love the adventures of Huggins and neighbors Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, Beatrice “Beezus” Quimby and her younger sister, Ramona. They inhabit a down-home, wholesome setting on Klickitat Street—a real street in Portland, Oregon, the city where Cleary spent much of her youth.

Ramona, perhaps her best-known character, made her debut in Henry Huggins with only a brief mention.

“All the children appeared to be only children, so I tossed in a little sister, and she didn’t go away. She kept appearing in every book,” Cleary said in a March 2016 telephone interview from her California home.

Cleary herself was an only child. She says Ramona’s character wasn’t very much like her. “I was a well-behaved little girl, not that I wanted to be,” she once quipped.

Cleary wrote eight books starring Ramona between 1955 and 1999, including Ramona the Pest. She ventured into fantasy with The Mouse and the Motorcycle in 1965.

Cleary hadn’t been writing in recent years because she said she felt “it’s important for writers to know when to quit.”

However, Cleary did re-release three of her most cherished books with three famous fans writing forewords for the new editions. Actress Amy Poehler penned the front section of Ramona Quimby, Age 8; author Kate DiCamillo wrote the opening for The Mouse and the Motorcycle; and author Judy Blume wrote the foreword for Henry Huggins.

Cleary, a self-described “fuddy-duddy,” said there was a simple reason she began writing children’s books. “As a librarian, children were always asking for books about ‘kids like us.’ Well, there weren’t any books about kids like them. So when I sat down to write, I found myself writing about the sort of children I had grown up with,” Cleary said in a 1993 interview.

Ramona and Her Father in 1978 and Ramona Quimby, Age 8, in 1982 were Newbery Honor Books. Cleary’s Dear Mr. Henshaw, the touching story of a lonely boy who corresponds with a children’s book author, won the 1984 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

The U.S. Library of Congress named Cleary a Living Legend in 2000. In 2003, she was a winner of the National Medal of Arts.

Cleary’s books exist in more than a dozen languages. They have inspired Japanese, Danish, and Swedish television programs, a 10-part PBS series, and a 2010 film.

Someone once asked Cleary about her favorite among her many fictional characters. She responded, “Does your mother have a favorite child?”

(Author Beverly Cleary signs books at the Monterey Bay Book Festival in Monterey, California, on April 19, 1998. Vern Fisher/The Monterey County Herald via AP)

Leave a comment
  • Be respectful of everyone, including other readers as well as individuals in the news stories. Disagree politely.
  • Do not post links to websites outside of WORLDteen.
  • Keep personal information such as full name, age, location, and contact information private.
  • Read your comment before posting to be sure you have typed what you wish to say in public.
Sorry you are not allowed to publish comments. If this is the first time you are seeing this message please log out and back in. If you continue to see this message and believe this to be in error please reach out to member services.

Most recent comments

First Comment!

Oh, that's so sad. I love her books! And I've been to Klickitat Street before

That woman was truly an

That woman was truly an extraordinary author. She captured so well the mind and thoughts of a child, and brought joy and laughter to so many kids. I loved her books, I thought of Ribsy as my own and I thought of Ramona like she was a dear friend. Thank you so much Beverly, for all that you've given us. Rest in peace.❤

3rd comment

Her books were so good! I have read the Mouse and the Motorcycle, which was good. i have also read a lot of other books be her. She was a good author. That is a lot of sickness in just first grade!!!!!! And wow she was quite old. My great-grandmother lived to be 108!!

4th comment

That's sad, my mother once loved reading her books.

P.S. This is Caro

My sister read the Mouse and the Motercycle, and my friends family loved Romona and Beezus.

Fifth Comment

That's so sad. I sorta remember Ribsy, and I do not remember liking The Mouse and the Motercycle.

oops, that was the 6th

oops, that was the 6th comment not the 5th. Sorry Caro

This is Mylee

I loved her books ! I’ve read romona and beezes and some other ones. This is sad that she passed . I hope she’s a Christian .

Is it just me or a lot of

Is it just me or a lot of people passing away lately....
Her name sounds familiar, I think I might have read one of her books.....

@NA

I don't think it is just you. . .starting last year there seems to be a ton of people related to me or that I know that have passed!

@ Riley

Yeah...

Noooo! i loved most of her

Noooo! i loved most of her books (not the ones with ramona as the main character shes really naughty and mean)

:(

:( I love her books. And 104 is a really long time to live! Hm...the article said she 'passed into eternity.' does that mean she was a Christian? Because I don't remember it saying anywhere else that she was or that she wasn't....maybe I skipped something.....

Sad. I've read several of her

Sad. I've read several of her books.

@ Dessie

Well you pass into eternity if you are a Christian or not..

@ Everyone

How sad! Dessie, I agree! I hope she's a Christian! Yeah, my favorite of her books were the Ralph the mouse ones. Yeah, Micah, Ramona wasn't too well behaved from the few Ramona books I read.

@ Everyone

So this real random, (and you don't have to answer if you don't want to, just 'cuz we might be leaving soon and I've been wonder it the whole time we've been on here!) but has anyone ever been to/ going to go to/ always go to the summer church camp NYC (Nebraska Youth Camp)? Because we do and I wanted to know if when we go this summer, we'd have the great pleasure of maybe getting to met some of you! (Remember, don't feel like you have to answer!)

@Desarose S

Yes, a lot of times I wonder that about someone after they die. @Belwyn R Um, nebraska is pretty boring(sorry. we usually go through more interesting places). We went through it a few years ago on a road trip, and all we saw was corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn....

@ David

Yep, that's pretty much it; corn, corn, corn, corn, more corn, and if your extremely lucky you'll see this SUPER rare plant called corn,....................:)

@ David

Sorry, you're not your

@Belwyn

Hahaha
No, I haven’t been to that camp

It's really weird because my

It's really weird because my Mom mentioned her about a week or more ago and said that she 104, and now she just died. Our family read The Mouse and the Motorcycle several years ago, now I feel like I should read some more of her books.
My Great Grandma lived to be 97, though it not as impressive as Riley D's Great Grandma.

Hmm...

Never heard of her. 104 is a long time! I don't know anyone who's lived to be that old, but I hope my great grandmother lives to be older than that!

@ David

LOLL!!!!!! That's literally what EVERYONE says when they come to my state xDDDD (IN) xDDDDD

People ask me: "What's in

People ask me: "What's in Indiana?"
"Um.....well..............cars and corn......and corn......and.......uh........corn?

@ All

Can ya'll pray? My aunt is coming up from FL tomorrow for Easter. Also, I slammed my finger in a door earlier. It REALLY hurts!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks!

@ N&M. A

Yep, cars and corn!

@Belwyn

Praying

@Belwyn

No we don't go there and I will pray!!! What made you uh smash your finer in the door? XD Just joking you don't have to answer!

@ Riley D.

Uhhhhh....the wind. :) Thanks!

@ Amelia B.

Thanks! = )

@Belwyn

I am praying. :)
Funny story about slamming fingers. I have twin 3 year old girl cousins and one of them ran to hide in the bathroom because they were playing a game. She started slamming the door open and shut. (There were no adults in the immediate vicinity XD) Her twin came in and tried to stop the door and got her finger smashed. She started crying really hard, and when we looked at her pinky finger, it was crooked! We were worried that she had broken it, but then she stopped crying and wanted to go play and we realized that she just had a crooked pinky. Then we wondered if anyone else had crooked pinkies, and WE ALL did!!!! (Except my little brother, who was adopted) It's apparently a gene in my dad's family to have crooked pinkies. It was a really funny at the time, but typing it out now isn't as funny... XP

@ Addie L.

Wow! I would be really sacred! XD Thanks for the story and prayers!

@BelwynR

Luck? @Addie L I love how she read slowly (plz don't start it again, i was just making a joke)

@David P

XP Ha ha. Very funny. XD

@Belwyn

I know how you feel.....last September I was getting wood with my dad and I dropped this huge log on my pinky.....i was just in shock for a moment. My head swam, and It hurt SO BAD and I almost threw up no one noticed for a minute (And I simply couldn't speak or cry or yell or anything) then I just took off my glove. Blood was spurting everywhere and I just didn't move till someone noticed and said "Oh my goodness Papa look Dessie's bleeding!" And I was just standing there staring in shock. So I don’t remember much just next thing I knew my dad was wrapping up my hand with a first aid kit and calling my mom…Then I looked and saw some blood on the honda and was thinking “How’d it get on there?” And “Shucks now I won’t be able to finish my dragon picture I started.” I don’t know why I was thinking that but then I got on the honda with my dad and I think I passed out because next thing I remember is ‘waking up’ when we stopped at the house and my mom unwrapping my finger and the fingernail was almost off and blood was everywhere it was swollen really bad too. (Trying to type fast that’s why I have run on sentences). Anyway we kept taking care of it and within a few days it was stinking really bad because it was rotting so I pulled it off with pliers…it hurt but I did because it smelled so bad. It was about three times bigger then my other pinky…and it STILL IS SWOLLEN. The nail came back, and the pinky healed, but it still is about twice the size it should be and gets colder quicker than my other one! Anyway it's a funny pinky story...

@Belwyn

I know how you feel.....last September I was getting wood with my dad and I dropped this huge log on my pinky.....i was just in shock for a moment. My head swam, and It hurt SO BAD and I almost threw up no one noticed for a minute (And I simply couldn't speak or cry or yell or anything) then I just took off my glove. Blood was spurting everywhere and I just didn't move till someone noticed and said "Oh my goodness Papa look Dessie's bleeding!" And I was just standing there staring in shock. So I don’t remember much just next thing I knew my dad was wrapping up my hand with a first aid kit and calling my mom…Then I looked and saw some blood on the honda and was thinking “How’d it get on there?” And “Shucks now I won’t be able to finish my dragon picture I started.” I don’t know why I was thinking that but then I got on the honda with my dad and I think I passed out because next thing I remember is ‘waking up’ when we stopped at the house and my mom unwrapping my finger and the fingernail was almost off and blood was everywhere it was swollen really bad too. (Trying to type fast that’s why I have run on sentences). Anyway we kept taking care of it and within a few days it was stinking really bad because it was rotting so I pulled it off with pliers…it hurt but I did because it smelled so bad. It was about three times bigger then my other pinky…and it STILL IS SWOLLEN. The nail came back, and the pinky healed, but it still is about twice the size it should be and gets colder quicker than my other one! Anyway it's a funny pinky story...

@ Dessie

YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would NOT have the gut to do that @_@

@Desarose S

Thats cool. (Not in a bad way, just from som. u said)

@desarose

XP I would have passed out, thrown up, and probably gone crazy. I do not handle injury well.....
Did you ever go to a doctor about it? My uncle would have come over bc he is an ER doctor.

@Dessie

OUCH!!!!!!!!! that made my finger hurt reading it!!!! XD Yeah my sister smashed her finger between two saddles and the fingernail was like black for like four or five months! I is just now almost off!! And also her horse was acting up and he jumped on her foot and she was on crutches the next day! We never took her to the doctor but we think now maybe it was broken, but cause she can only bend her toes so far now, not all the way!!! but she was limping for quite a while! But yeah it happened when she was way out in the middle of nowhere getting ready to do cattle and then he jumped on it, but she did cattle anyway but she could feel her boot getting really tight because of swelling!! And I don't think I have any funny pinky stories!
@Addie: NOw that I look one of my pinkys is a little crooked! Actually a lot of my fingers look just slightly bowed. I wonder why? They don't affect my at all and it is hardly noticeable though...

@Riley

Crooked phalanges run in our family. I have bony, skinny, long, crooked fingers and toes. Not extremes of any of those, except maybe long. My mom says my toes look like fingers. XD

@Addie

Lol that is funny yeah I have kinda long toes and fingers too. Long toes run on my dads side and finers on my moms, so I got both!

@Desarose S

Ouch! I can't imagine what my reaction would be.
I remember the time I tried to catch a football and ended up having it slam into my pinky of my left hand. It was swollen for a month and a half. I was sort of happy about that because I wouldn't have to practice the violin or piano but after a couple of weeks, I was itching to play again. (Playing catch with a football is now off limits for me)

P.S. This is Caro

@Desarose, OWWWW!!!!!!!! That sounds so painful! I didn't even read your whole comment because it sounded so painful.. @_@

@Above

Oh yeah I thought of a finger (i think pinky) story of my own! So we were at a college basketball game for homecoming, and it is kinda hard to explain how stuff was set up but anyway we were in seating above the game and there was room to run around and my sister and I were running with a bunch of kids. I looked behind me and didn't see this other kid coming and I crashed right into a boy and we both fell and I thought I was okay but them a few minutes later my finger started REALLY hurting, so when I had fallen in the concrete, I had like bent my finger back the wrong way and the next day it was super swollen and I couldn't move it and for breakfast I was trying to get a peanut butter jar open but couldn't becaus I couldn't grip with that hand very well! Anyway it hurt bad for a week or two but then got better. Boy it hurt though! And we were in a different town so it was not even like we could go home!! Anyway that was a couple years ago tho!

@Riley

I have done that to one of my toes. I hit it and it bent the wrong way and was really swollen for a while.
Also, today I got to hug my great-grandmother for the first time in a WHOLE YEAR!!! I'm so glad this pandemic is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. This is Caro

@Addie L, that's awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

@Addie

Oh thats nice!!! My great grandma got covid and survived through it and she is fine now, but she is getting memory loss really bad, so yeah...

P.S. This is Caro

@Riley, I'm so sorry!!!!! Is she a Christian?

Pages

Check out one of the interesting topics below
Explain IT!

Explain-IT trains you to understand the how’s and why’s of man-made inventions and ideas.

Learn More
Pop Smart

Pop! SMART provides tools that equip teenagers with the kinds of insights they need to wisely navigate today’s popular culture in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Learn More
Pie in the Sky

Everyone daydreams, and as it should be. Good dreams aside, our culture is a natural enemy of serenity and hope. God has equipped you for great things.

Learn More
People Mover

True stories are incredibly powerful. They bring meaning to our lives—communicating the truths we can’t afford to live without.

Learn More
Mud Room

Mud Room helps you relate to the news by exploring the details behind the stories in the headlines that relate to earth sciences.

Learn More
Globe Trek

Globe Trek will take you from the living room sofa to the mountains of Uzbekistan and from the screen of their smart phone to a Chilean plantation.

Learn More
Ka Ching!

ka-Ching! takes a look at important principles of money and economics through relatable examples from everyday life.

Learn More
Law 'N Order

Law ‘N Order captures your imagination through civics, focusing on the idea that everyone can make a difference in life.

Learn More

User login