What is the life story of Beverly Cleary?

Have you met the residents of the Klickitat Street? Henry Huggins and his neighbours Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, Beatrice “Beezus” Quimby and her younger sister. Ramona made their way into the hearts of children across the world through the writings of the beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary. But did you know that there is a real Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon, in the U.S.? Or that Cleary spent most of her childhood there? Read on to find out…

Who was Beverly Cleary?

Born in 1916 on a farm in Yamhill, Cleary moved to Portland as a child. She lived on the 37th Street, also known as the Klickitat Street. Both the street and the people in her neighbourhood left a strong impression on Cleary’s mind. A school assignment in Class VII kindled her love for writing.

Unlike most women then, Cleary was determined to attend college and stand on her feet. She even moved to South California with her aunt and uncle because California’s colleges were free to its residents. Cleary earned a degree in English from the prestigious UC Berkeley and librarianship from the University of Washington.

Half a century of children’s books

Working as a librarian, Cleary started writing in her 30s. Her first, “Henry Huggins” was published in 1950. Cleary received $500 for the book and there was no looking back after that. In a career spanning over 50 years, Cleary came up with many children’s classics including the “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” trilogy, which is centred around rodents and motorbikes. Among the “Henry” titles were “Henry and Ribs,” “Henry and the Paper Route” and “Henry and Beezus.” Her last book, “Ramona’s World”, released in 1999.

Beverly and Ramona

Of all her creations, Ramona is perhaps the best-known. Ramona made her debut in “Henry Huggins”, but became so popular that she inspired her own spin-offs. In all there were eight Ramona books, including “Beezus and Ramona”, “Ramona the Pest and “Ramona and Her Father.” In 1981, “Ramona and Her Mother” won the National Book Award.

Twilight years

Although Cleary took a break from writing towards the end of her career, three of her books were re-released on popular demand. And to make them even more special, they contain forewords by three of her famous fans-Judy Blume, Kate DiCamillo and actress Amy Poehler.

Cleary breathed her last on March 25, 2021, at the age of 104.


  • The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden in her hometown is dedicated to the beloved children’s author. Artist Lee Hunt has created sculpted figures of some of Cleary’s characters, while quotes from her famous books are engraved on the granite slabs in the garden.
  • Out of all the magical books she wrote, only her “Ralph Mouse” series has been adapted to the silver screen.
  • Cleary has written two memoirs “A Girl From Yamhill” and “My Own Two Feet” in which she discusses her life candidly.


Picture Credit : Google

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *