Beverly Cleary, beloved children’s book author and UC Berkeley alumnus, dies at 104 – CBS San Francisco

CARMEL (CBS SF) – Beverly Cleary, the valued writer of classic children’s books such as “Henry Huggins”, “Ramona and Beezus” and “The Mouse and the Motorcycle”, has died at her home in Carmel aged 104 years.

The HarperCollins publishing house issued a press release confirming Cleary’s death on Thursday, March 25, noting that she had lived in Carmel since the 1960s.

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According to the publishing house, Cleary published her first book, “Henry Huggins”, which was published in 1950. She would write over 40 additional books over the course of a career which the HarperCollins publication says sets “a standard. for realistic children’s fiction “.

“Beverly Cleary has become the favorite of generations of children. Ms. Cleary has also inspired writers, including Judy Blume, to address the real issues in the lives of young readers, ”the press release said.

HarperCollins also posted an article about Cleary’s passing on his Twitter account on Friday afternoon.

“We are saddened by the passing of Beverly Cleary, one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time,” Suzanne Murphy, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, said in the company statement. Thinking back, she would often say, ‘I’ve had a lucky life,’ and generations of children consider themselves lucky too – lucky to have the very real characters that Beverly Cleary created, including Henry Huggins, Ramona and Beezus Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse, like true friends who helped shape their growing years. “

Born Beverly Bunn in McMinnville, Oregon, on April 12, 1916, the future author spent her formative years on the family farm in Yamhill. While she had an early love for books thanks to a library her mother set up in the small town, when her family moved to Portland, she found herself struggling with reading in high school.

It was this experience and his eventual overcoming of the challenge that gave him a lifelong sympathy for the issues of struggling readers, according to HarpersCollins.

In sixth or seventh grade, “I decided I was going to write children’s stories,” she said.

Cleary graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, where she met her husband, Clarence. They married in 1940. UC Berkeley would later name a dormitory in his honor.

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Although she was trained and initially worked as a librarian, after the publication of “Henry Huggins” in 1950 millions of people came to love the adventures of Huggins, his dog Ribsy and of her neighbors Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, Beatrice “Beezus” Quimby and her younger sister, Ramona Quimby.

The characters lived in a healthy and peaceful setting on Klickitat Street – a true Portland street where Cleary spent much of his youth.

Ramona, perhaps her most famous character, made her debut in “Henry Huggins” with only a brief mention.

“All the kids seemed to be just kids so I added a little sister and she didn’t leave. She continued to appear in every book, ”she said in a telephone interview in March 2016 from a Carmel retirement home where she lived.

In all, there were eight books on Ramona between “Beezus and Ramona” in 1955 and “The World of Ramona” in 1999. Others included “Ramona the Plague” and “Ramona and his Father”. In 1981, “Ramona and Her Mother” won the National Book Award.

Cleary and Clarence were the parents of twins, a boy and a girl born in 1955 who inspired his book “Mitch and Amy”.

Cleary has also ventured into fantasy with “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” and the “Runaway Ralph” and “Ralph S. Mouse” sequels. “Socks,” about a cat’s struggle to be accepted when its owners have a baby, is told from the point of view of the animal itself.

She was named a living legend in 2000 by the Library of Congress. In 2003, she was chosen as one of the winners of the National Medal of Arts and met President George W. Bush.

Her husband Clarence died in 2004.

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© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Grover Z. Barnes

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