Cleary, Beverly

Cleary, Beverly

▪ American author
née  Beverly Bunn 
born April 12, 1916, McMinnville, Ore., U.S.

      American children's writer whose award-winning books are lively, humorous portrayals of problems and events faced in real life by school-aged girls and boys.

      Beverly Bunn lived on a farm near Yamhill, Oregon, before moving to Portland (the setting of many of her books) when she was six. She was educated at the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned her B.A. in 1938, and at the University of Washington, where she took a second degree in library science the following year. From 1939 to 1940 she was children's librarian at the public library in Yakima, Washington. In 1940 she eloped with Clarence T. Cleary. Their twin children later became models for her fictional fourth-grader twins, Mitch and Amy. After serving as the post librarian at the U.S. Army Hospital in Oakland, California, from 1943 to 1945, Cleary became a full-time writer for young people.

      In 1950 her first book, Henry Huggins, was published, and, ever since, middle-grade schoolchildren have enjoyed reading about the adventures of its eponymous hero and his friends, including Beezus and Ramona Quimby, on Klickitat Street, a real street near Cleary's childhood home in Portland. Cleary's books realistically portray ordinary children in search of fun and friendship who also run into problems and typically find reasonable solutions. A gentle humour became the hallmark of all Cleary's work. Among the perennial favorites are The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965), Ramona the Pest (1968), and Runaway Ralph (1970).

      The recipient of many awards, including three Newbery Medals (Newbery Medal), Cleary has also had several of her works adapted for television. Translated into 14 languages, her books have sold millions of copies in 20 countries. In addition to more than 35 works of fiction for children and young adults, Cleary has also published two volumes of memoirs, A Girl from Yamhill (1988) and My Own Two Feet (1995).

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Universalium. 2010.

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