Happy Birthday to Beverly Cleary, the beloved children’s book author who turns 102 today. It was Cleary’s own school librarian who took a special interest in her and said that someday she should write for children, the kind of books she longed to read but could not find on library shelves—funny stories about neighborhood kids growing up. And so Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle were born. WATCH a 2016 interview with Cleary about her 100th birthday… (1916)
The neighborhood streets of Klickitat and Tillamook, where her characters play, actually exist in the Portland neighborhood where Cleary went to school.
She became a librarian herself, after having earned a B.A. in English at UC Berkeley. Little boys were bored in her library because there were no books about “kids like us.” Her first book, Henry Huggins was published in 1950 –her last came out in 1999– and she has sold 90 million books. She has also won numerous literary awards, written two autobiographies, and now lives in a retirement community in Carmel, California.
Today is also “Drop Everything and Read” day, a school program –D.E.A.R. – that allows kids to lie around in classrooms with books of their choosing. This week is also National Library Week. Visit her website at Beverlycleary.com.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- The North Carolina legislature passed an anti-Ku Klux Klan Law (1869)
- The UN’s International Court of Justice opened its doors to hear disputes between nations, when and if both parties agree to be bound by its decision (1946)
- The polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, was declared safe and effective (1955)
- Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into outer space, orbiting the Earth aboard Vostok 3KA-2 (1961)
- Bob Dylan performed his first major concert at the Town Hall in New York City, a 1500-seat theater known for its outstanding acoustics (1963)
- The first Space Shuttle blasted off in a successful test flight of the ship called Columbia (1981)
- East Germany‘s democratically elected parliament met for the first time, acknowledged responsibility for the Nazi holocaust, and asked for forgiveness (1990)
- The U.S. Navy rescued American cargo ship captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates at sea when snipers shot and killed three of the hostage-takers (2009)
Did you know that in 1961, on this date, retired U.S. General Douglas MacArthur declined an offer to become the Major League Baseball Commissioner?