It is the season of sun, fun, and travel. Time to slap on sunscreen, jump in a pool, run in a park, and enjoy the outdoors. Yet despite all the outdoor attractions of summer, it is also a time for reading (indoors and out).
In my own childhood, I remember summer challenges sponsored by the local library where awards and prizes were bestowed upon children for reading books. What a deal!
This year, my daughter has transitioned into chapter books and this has reintroduced me to one of the titans of children’s literature (who happens to hail from my home state of Oregon), Beverly Cleary.
Within the genre of children’s literature, few can claim as much success at appealing to both boys and girls as Beverly Cleary. Although probably most known for her books about Ramona Quimby, Cleary actually began her career by crafting tales that would appeal to boys.
While working as a librarian, she met many young boys who complained that there were not enough stories written for them. In 1950, Cleary wrote Henry Huggins to fill that void, and in the process, launched one of the most successful writing careers in America.
To date, she has sold over 91 million copies of more than 30 titles. In 1981, she won the National Book Award for Ramona and Her Mother, and in 1984 the Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw.
These tried-and-true books stand up to the test of time and can be enjoyed by both children and parents. Compared to much of what passes for children’s “literature” out there, I’m always happy to re-read a chapter book about Beezus, Ramona, Henry, or Ralph S. Mouse rather than some formulaic drivel about rainbow fairies (don’t get me started).
As parents (and former children), we owe Beverly Cleary a debt of gratitude – and we owe it to our children to share with them her well-crafted stories.
You can order books, CDs, and videos featuring stories by Beverly Cleary on Amazon.cn. Titles are available in English and Spanish.
To learn more about the author, explore her bibliography, and discover fun and games for the kids, visit beverlycleary.com.
Enjoy your summer of reading!
Photo by Flickr user cdrummbks