Rest in Peace, Beverly Cleary

March 26, 2021
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We are deeply saddened to hear that beloved children's author Beverly Cleary has passed away.

An icon of children's literature, Cleary became interested in writing for children because reading meant so much to her as a child. “I was a great reader of fairy tales," Cleary said in an interview with BookPage. "I tried to read the entire fairy tale section of the library: Andrew Lang’s Blue Fairy Book, Red Fairy Book, and so on, probably down to the Puce or Chartreuse fairy tales."

To celebrate the incredible life of one of our favorite authors, we've rounded up five of our favorite Beverly Cleary books.

1. Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Riding the school bus alone isn’t the only new experience making third grade exciting for Ramona Quimby. From befriending a boy called Yard Ape to delivering her book report in the style of a television commercial, Ramona’s enthusiasm for life is infectious and irresistible.

That’s not to say all is perfect. Mr. Quimby’s return to college means that the whole family must pitch in to make ends meet. Having to go to the Kemps’ house after school is Ramona’s own particular burden—especially the chore of being nice to pesky little Willa Jean Kemp. When Ramona gets sick and throws up in class, she feels as though things can’t get worse. But with all the pluck we’ve come to expect from Ramona, she emerges smiling with her head held high.

In this Newbery Honor book, Beverly Cleary lovingly chronicles Ramona’s experiences and growth.

2. Beezus and Ramona

Beezus has a hard time being patient with four-year-old Ramona. Who else has a little sister that bakes rubber dolls into cakes or invites her nursery class over for parties without asking first? Perfect for new readers who also love Judy Moodie and Junie B. Jones, as well as old fans who want to cheer on Ramona once more!

3. Henry Huggins

In Henry Huggins, Beverly Cleary’s very first book, Henry gives a friendly dog a lick of his ice cream cone—and gets more than he bargained for when the dog follows him home!

Beverly Cleary wrote Henry Huggins in response to one child’s request for “books about kids like us.” More than 50 years and millions of copies later, Henry and his dog Ribsy are as fun and as mischievous as ever, ready to bring Klickitat Street to life for a whole new generation of readers!

4. Dear Mr. Henshaw

Leigh Botts has been author Boyd Henshaw's number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid at school. He's lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh's teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh's life.

5. Runaway Ralph

Fed up with his overbearing family, Ralph decides to hop on his motorcycle and follow the sound of a bugle down the road to Camp Happy Acres. Unfortunately, life at camp is not all peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fun. A strict watchdog, a mouse-hungry cat, and a troubled boy named Garf keep Ralph on his toes and away from his precious motorcycle. Perhaps home is not such a bad place to be, if only Ralph can find a way to get there again!

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