Beverly Cleary: “Ramona Quimby was the kind of girl who draws pictures in library books.”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of children’s book author Beverly Cleary (books by this author), born in McMinnville, Oregon (1916), and raised on a farm in nearby Yamhill. She became a children’s librarian in a small town in Washington state, and over the years, she noticed that many of the children complained that they couldn’t find books about children like themselves.

It took her awhile to get started, but Cleary eventually decided to write the kind of books those kids were looking for, books about ordinary children living ordinary everyday lives, whose parents struggle to pay the bills and hang onto their jobs.

Her first book was Henry Huggins (1950), and it was a huge success. One of the minor characters in that book was a girl named Ramona Quimby, who was the kind of girl who wipes paint on the neighbor’s cat and draws pictures in library books and locks her friend’s dog in the bathroom, without ever realizing that she’s bothering anybody. She went on to become the main character of Cleary’s most popular series of books, including Ramona the Pest (1968), Ramona the Brave (1975), and Ramona Forever (1984).

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