Beverly Cleary is one of the most celebrated children’s authors of all time. She’s written dozens of books, entertained generations of kids, and created such beloved characters as Ramona Quimby, Henry Higgins, and Ralph S. Mouse. She’s also going to turn 100 next week.
Her hometown newspaper, The Oregonian, interviewed her recently to celebrate her life and achievements. In the interview, she said that she decided to write books for children while working as a children’s librarian in Yakima, Washington. She says that a young boy complained that there weren’t any books about kids “like us,” that is to say regular kids living regular, adventure-free lives. Cleary realized he was right and decided to write some. She also laments the fact that her children, who grew up in the 1950s, had less freedom than she did as a child in the ’20s. (We can only assume that that complaint, that today’s children are too sheltered, has been around as long as people have been having children.)
At any rate, The Oregonian edited the interview into a charming two-minute video, which comes with a tour of important Cleary landmarks in Portland and around the state of Oregon.