“Wait!” the teacher said. “I have something important to tell you!” The kids froze in silent anticipation of the forthcoming announcement.
“Today is a special day! It’s someone’s birthday! It’s the birthday of someone that we all think is a wonderful, wonderful person.” The kids guessed wildly–their principal? One of the teachers? They were stumped.
“It’s Beverly Cleary’s ONE HUNDREDTH birthday today–this very day!” announced the teacher. The class buzzed with delight.
I remember the feeling of being absorbed in the world of Beverly Cleary 35 years ago when I was in school. I can still hear my third grade teacher’s voice as he read the story of Otis Spofford to our class—and we were APPALLED (and secretly delighted) at Otis’ bad behavior. I tell kids about the Spitball Cure to this day!
Would we ever have imagined that so many years later, Beverly Cleary’s books would not only be on the shelves in our classrooms but be celebrated by today’s young readers? In this age of iPads and phone apps, video games and coding, children are as enthralled with Ramona and Henry Huggins as ever. Maybe they are fascinated by stories from a simpler time—but they laugh over Ramona just as much as when I was their age. Beverly Cleary and her stories are treasures–and it is heartwarming and delightful to know that kids everywhere are still treasuring them to this day.
Happy birthday, Beverly Cleary! And thank you, from the bottom of our hearts…