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|A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir||1|
Beverly Cleary (1916 - )
added by Buffheart
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The Early Years: Beverly Cleary (born Beverly Atlee Bunn) was born on April 12, 1916, in McMinnville, Yamhill County, Oregon. When she was five years old, her family moved to Portland, Oregon, where she attended elementary and high school. She was a slow learner, due partly to her dissatisfaction with the books she was required to read and partly to an unpleasant first grade teacher. Moreover, after six years of living outdoors on a farm, city-life in Portland took a toll on Beverly's health, and in her first-grade year and she was frequently ill. That set back her schoolwork and reading skills even more.
It was not until she was in third grade that she found enjoyment from books, when she started reading The Dutch Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins. Thereafter, she was a frequent visitor to the library, though she rarely found the books she most wanted to read — those about children like herself.
Then she started another in the series, The Swiss Twins, and finished that as well. It was the most exciting day in her life, perhaps her birthday as a writer. Finally, after some prodding from her husband, in 1950 she wrote a book about a boy and his dog, and their friends—all of whom lived on Klickitat Street in Portland, a real street that was only a few blocks from where she lived as a child. Of course, the boy and his friends were real too, because they represented all the kids she grew up with and the ones who sat in front of her in library story hours.
Professional: In 1934, age 19, she moved to Ontario, California to attend Chaffey College, from which she earned an Associate of Arts diploma. She worked as a substitute librarian at the Ontario City Library. After graduating with a B.A in English in 1938 from the University of California at Berkeley, she studied at the School of Librarianship at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she earned a degree in librarianship in 1939.
Her first full-time job as a librarian was in Yakima, Washington, where she met many children who were searching for the same books that she had always hoped to find as a child herself. In response, she wrote her first book, Henry Huggins, which was published in 1950. As she crafter her first novel, she recalled advice from her mother. And incorporated her beliefs that the best writing was simple and filled with humor. She also remembered advice from a college professor who emphasized writing about “universal human experience." Beezus and Ramona, Cleary's first novel to feature the Quimby sisters as the central focus of the story, was published in 1955, although Beezus and Ramona made frequent appearances in the Henry Huggins series as supporting characters.
Personal Life: In 1940 she married Clarence T. Cleary and they moved to Oakland, California. They eloped because Cleary's parents were Presbyterians, and did not approve of the union even after it occurred.The Clearys became parents to a set of twins, Marianne Elisabeth and Malcolm James, in 1955. Clarence Cleary died in 2004. Beverly Cleary currently lives in Carmel, California.
She has also written two autobiographies, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet.
Her books are available in 15 languages in over 20 countries.