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Beverly Cleary

Updated on October 17, 2014

Beverly Cleary - The Creator of Ramona, Henry, and Ralph S. Mouse

Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) is the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many children face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humor. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice, Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.

I don't know about you, but I ADORE all the works of Beverly Cleary, and am so glad to have been able to share them with my children. Ramona, Beezus, Henry, Ribsy, Ralph and all the rest have been friends of mine for many, many years. Welcome to all the other Beverly Cleary fans out there!

Beverly Cleary
Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary Biography - Part 1

Beverly Cleary was born Beverly Atlee Bunn in McMinnville, Oregon. When she was 6, her family moved to Portland, Oregon, where she attended school. She was slow in learning to read, due partly to her dissatisfaction with the books she was required to read and partly to an unpleasant first grade teacher. It wasn't until her third grade year that she found enjoyment from books, when she started reading The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins. Thereafter, she was a frequent visitor to the library, though she rarely found the books she most wanted to read - those about children like herself.

She moved to California to attend the University of California, Berkeley, and after graduation with a B.A in English in 1938, studied at the School of Librarianship at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she earned a degree in librarianship in 1939. Her first job was as a librarian in Yakima, Washington, where she met many children who were searching for the same books that she had always hoped to find as a child herself. In response, she wrote her first book, Henry Huggins, which was published in 1950. Beezus and Ramona, Cleary's first novel to feature the Quimby sisters as the central focus of the story, was published in 1955, although Beezus and Ramona made frequent appearances in the Henry Huggins series as supporting characters.

In 1940 she married Clarence Cleary and moved back to California. The Clearys became parents to a set of twins, Marianne Elisabeth and Malcolm James, in 1955. Clarence Cleary died in 2004. Beverly Cleary currently lives in Carmel, California.

Beverly Cleary
Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary Biography - Part 2

She has also written two auto-biographies, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet.

Her books are available in 14 languages in over 20 countries. She has won many awards, including the 1984 Newbery Medal for her book Dear Mr. Henshaw and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1975. Cleary received the Library of Congress Living Legends award in the "Writers and Artists" category in April 2000 for her significant contributions to America's cultural heritage.

The Hollywood branch of the Multnomah County library, near where she lived as a child, has created a map on their lobby wall of Henry Huggins' Klickitat Street neighborhood. Statues of her beloved characters Ramona, Henry Huggins, and Huggins' dog Ribsy can be found in Grant Park in Portland, Oregon.

In 2004, the University of Washington's Information School completed fundraising for a Beverly Cleary Endowed Chair for Children and Youth Services to honor her work and commitment to librarianship.

She has a residential hall at University of California, Berkeley named after her.

The Mouse & The Motorcycle

Beverly Cleary Books

  • Henry Huggins (illus. by Louis Darling) 1950
  • Ellen Tebbits (illus. by Louis Darling) 1951
  • Henry and Beezus (illus. by Louis Darling) 1952
  • Otis Spofford (illus. by Louis Darling) 1953
  • Henry and Ribsy (illus. by Louis Darling) 1954
  • Beezus and Ramona (illus. by Louis Darling) 1955
  • Fifteen (illus. by Joe and Beth Krush) 1956
  • Henry and the Paper Route (illus. by Louis Darling) 1957
  • The Luckiest Girl 1958
  • Jean and Johnny (illus. by Joe and Beth Krush) 1959
  • Henry and the Clubhouse (illus. by Louis Darling) 1962
  • Sister of the Bride (illus. by Joe and Beth Krush) 1963
  • Ribsy (illus. by Louis Darling) 1964
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle (illus. by Louis Darling) 1965
  • Mitch and Amy (illus. by Bob Marstall) 1967
  • Ramona the Pest (illus. by Louis Darling) 1968
  • Runaway Ralph (illus. by Louis Darling) 1970
  • Socks (illus. by Beatrice Darwin) 1973
  • Ramona the Brave (illus. by Alan Tiegreen) 1975
  • Ramona and Her Father (illus. by Alan Tiegreen) 1977
  • Ramona and Her Mother (illus. by Alan Tiegreen) 1979
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (illus. by Alan Tiegreen) 1981
  • Ralph S. Mouse (illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky) 1982
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw (illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky) 1983
  • Ramona Forever (illus. by Alan Tiegreen) 1984
  • Lucky Chuck (illus. by J. Winslow Higginbottom) 1984
  • A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir 1988
  • Muggie Maggie (illus. by Kay Life) 1990
  • Strider (illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky) 1991
  • Petey's Bedtime Story (illus. by David Small) 1993
  • My Own Two Feet 1995
  • The Hullabaloo ABC (illus. by Ted Rand) 1998
  • Ramona's World (illus. by Alan Tiegreen) 1999

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    • Lynn Savitsky profile image

      Lynn Savitzky 2 years ago from New Jersey

      Beverly Cleary is one of my favorite authors of all time, and she seems like such a nice person, too!

    • profile image

      SororPeregrina 3 years ago

      OMG, Otis Spofford! It's been well over fifty years, but I still remember the story about him selling the bubble gum balls that he found in a vacant lot, and how he had to keep lowering the price because the other kids got fed up chewing on so much sugar. And Ellen Tebbits with her badly-made monkey print dress... I really must go and buy myself new copies of all those books i loved as a kid.

      Funny, the one character I never liked was Ramona. But Beezus was a hoot. Perhaps that's because I'm the elder of two sisters ;-) Go, Beezus!

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 4 years ago

      She wrote some great children's books.

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 6 years ago from USA

      Beverly Cleary - a true treasure! Thanks for sharing. I am so tickled to learn about the statues! I wanna see 'em!!

      (P.S. ***Blessed by a SquidAngel*** for lovely layout, good writing, and a terrific subject!)