Children’s author, Beverly Cleary who brought us charactes such as Ramona Quimby has died, aged 104. The beloved children’s author was born in 1916 and during her career has sold 91 million books around the world. Some of Cleary’s best known characters are Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy, and Ralph S. Mouse.
Ramona is possible Cleary’s best known character of all, but she wasn’t intended as a protagonist and started out as a side character to Henry Huggins before growing into a life of her own and taking the lead, popular with children the world over.
The majority of Cleary’s books are set in the Grant Park neighbourhood of Portland, Oregon and that’s because this is where the author was raised. Originally she struggled after moving from a more rural location for her father’s job but eventually she would go on to become one of the best known children’s authors of all time, crediting as one of the first children’s authors to figure emotional realism into her characters.
During her lifetime Beverly won a raft of awards including the 1981 National Book Award for Ramona and Her Mother, and the 1984 Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw. Cleary also received the National Medal of Arts, and wass recognised as a Library of Congress Living Legend for her lifetime contributions to American literature. In Portland a public school is named after her, and there are several statues of her most famous characters in Grant Park, Portland.
Cleary died on Thursday 25th March, aged 104.