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Beverly Cleary Talks Writing and Upcoming 100th Birthday

Beverly Cleary, the author who created childhood characters like Henry Huggins, Beezus and Ramona Quimby, and The Mouse on the Motorcycle is turning 100 next month. “I didn’t do it on purpose,” Cleary says in a short feature for NBC TODAY, claiming that she once had an “ernest conversation” with a friend where they decided “80 was the cut-off date.”

Cleary says that when she was a child in the 1920s and working as a librarian, she mostly saw books about about kids in England. After thinking and hearing “Where are the books about kids like us?” she started writing, with many of her books more than 50 years old now. Cleary and Jenna Bush Hager gave away Kindles with Cleary’s stories on them to celebrate her upcoming birthday.

Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux, Because of Winn-Dixie) and Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, the Fudge series) were also included in the segment where they spoke about Cleary’s influence on their works. When asked what she’s most proud of, Cleary responded, “The fact that children like my books.”

Did you have a favorite Beverly Cleary book? I remember everyone in my fourth grade class really liking Dear Mr. Henshaw.

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