As Beverly Cleary Prepares To Turn 100, Readers Cherish Memories
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Book lovers are invited to a special birthday party tomorrow, along with Ralph S. Mouse, Beezus and Ramona The Pest. Author Beverly Cleary is turning 100.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Back in 1950, Cleary set her first book on a street in Portland, Ore., just like the one she grew up on. And little boys are still reading it today.
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Henry Huggins was in the third grade. His hair looked like a scrubbing brush. And most of his grown-up front teeth were in. He lived with his mother and father in a square white house on Klickitat Street.
INSKEEP: Klickitat Street. Beverly Cleary wrote Henry Huggins, as she told NPR's Debby Elliott, after working with children as a librarian.
BEVERLY CLEARY: Boys, particularly, asked, where were the books about kids like us? And there weren't any at that time.
INSKEEP: Cleary has a gift of writing from a child's perspective.
CLEARY: I'm just lucky. I do have very clear memories of childhood. I find that many people don't. But I'm just very fortunate that I have that kind of memory.
INSKEEP: Many people now have her memories of childhood. Ramona audiobooks have been the soundtrack for more long family drives than I would care to count.
MONTAGNE: Beverly Cleary will celebrate her 100th birthday with a slice of carrot cake. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.