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Beverly Cleary: The Girl from Yamhill

Beverly thought she had the greatest life. Things were exciting on the family farm for a little girl, and her mom and dad were working too hard to keep their dark-haired daughter from having fun. On glorious days filled with sunshine, she helped bring the lazy cows in from the pasture, picked armfuls of wild flowers, and learned the names of the trees and the birds from her father as they rode in the wagon across the field to gather firewood.

She was a bit lonely, though. The Bunn family lived far away from anybody so she rarely had children to play with who were her own age. She wasn't too sad when they all moved from Yamhill to Portland, Oregon, a real town with sidewalks, lots of friends, and roller skates. But to Beverly, the move also meant a mean teacher, braces on her teeth, and awful boys who loved to tease her.

Probably the hardest thing for her to bear was being put in a class with poor readers. Beverly was sick a lot, so she had fallen behind in her reading. She knew she should love reading. She certainly loved it when her parents read to her and told her stories. But the very beginning books were BORING! She also found that most books written for boys and girls were either trying very hard to teach them important lessons or were so far-fetched that nothing like that could ever possibly happen in her life.

Cover to Ramona the PestWhen Beverly grew up, she became a children's librarian, and she heard the same complaints from her students. Her boys didn't want to read classic books that were good for them. They wanted books about "kids like us". Beverly took her typewriter, lots of sharp pencils, and clean paper, and began to write stories about kids on Klickitat Street in Portland. Beverly wrote about Ramona the pest, her long-suffering, big sister, Beezus, goofy Otis Spofford, and Henry Huggins and his best doggie pal, Ribsy. Her books are really funny and focus on what's important in a kid's life. She has also written picture books and books about first loves, but it's the gang on Klickitat Street that wins her the most fans year after year.

Go to our catalog now to pull up a list of Beverly Cleary's books, books on tape, and videos. CRRL cardholders can request that the items be held for them at a favorite branch.

Want to learn more about Beverly Cleary? She has written two autobiographies, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, both of which are available in the library.

Selected Web Sites on Beverly Cleary:

Author Profile: Beverly Cleary
http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/cleary.html
Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook and Read All About It, writes a fascinating profile of Beverly Cleary.

Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for Children
http://www.multcolib.org/kids/cleary/
Ramona, Henry Huggins, and Ribsy have come home to Portland's Grant Park, which is four blocks from the real Klickitat Street. Includes a map of Beverly Cleary's old neighborhood.

Beverly Cleary's Childhood Memories Make Great Children's Stories
http://www.chfweb.com/smith/bcleary.html
A charming biographical sketch.

BookPage Interview: Beverly Cleary
http://www.bookpage.com/9908bp/beverly_cleary.html
An interview that coincided with the publication of her latest Ramona book, Ramona's World.

The World of Beverly Cleary
http://www.beverlycleary.com/index.html
Fun and games on Klickitat Street! Quizes on favorite books, ideas for a Ramona party, and more information on Beverly Cleary and her work.