Beverly Cleary turns 100!
Favorite children's books can feel timeless. When their authors live long lives, there's some kind of poetic justice. One example of those authors is Maurice Sendak. He wrote "Where the Wild Things Are." Sendak recently died at age 84. Another example is Laura Ingalls Wilder. She died at age 90. But some authors outlast nearly all of their counterparts. This is even as their stories continue to charm kids who are a mere fraction of their age.
Beverly Cleary turned 100 on April 12. She is one in that small but admired group. Cleary is an Oregon-based author. She is best known for kids' classics like "Henry Huggins." She also wrote "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" and "Ramona Quimby, Age 8."
She's sold more than 91 million copies of her books. She has written 39 books. They have sold all over the world. Her career has been greatly recognized. Cleary has won everything from multiple Newbery Medals and Honors to a "Living Legend" designation. The "Living Legend" honor came from the Library of Congress.
Have you ever adventured along with the Quimby girls on Klickitat Street? Then you may know that Cleary is strongly linked to Portland, Oregon. She spent much of her young life in the city. Then she turned her real-life experiences into children's books. Her books include real places. Those places can still be visited today.
Perhaps the perfect cherry on top of a Cleary-themed stroll through the rose-studded city is a trip to the sculpture garden. It was built in her honor. It is in Grant Park in northeast Portland.
The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for Children was built within the park in 1991. It was built by a group of librarians, teachers and Portland locals. They were eager to pay tribute to their favorite author of children's books.
The park itself is featured in several Cleary books. It is most memorable as the site where Henry Huggins frantically digs up nightcrawlers.
It features life-sized statues of Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and Huggins' dog, Ribsy. Quotes from the books and fountains make the garden even more fun. Cleary-curious travelers can also find a neighborhood map at the park. The map tells them how to find other local sites related to the author.
Want to take your Cleary sculptural viewing to another level in honor of her 100th? Stop by the Multnomah County Library's central branch. See if you can find a plaque featuring a depiction of the timeless (and, seemingly, ageless) author.
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do beloved children's books feel timeless?
Write your answers in the comments section below