Synopses & Reviews
The New Yorker
said of the first volume of Beverly Cleary's memoirs, "It is a warm, honest book, as interesting as any novel, and describes the growing-up process with remarkable clarity and candor." Now the creator of Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins writes of her early adulthood with humor and insight, making Beverly Cleary's own story as lively and irresistible as any of her novels.
In 1934, Beverly Bunn left home to attend college in California, which she imagined as the land of orange groves and movie stars, far removed from the hardships of the Depression. As a young woman who 11 was sure where she wanted to go but did not know if she could find the money to get there," she juggled studies of Chaucer and French grammar with the many chores that came with life in a student cooperative house. She also found time to eat a bacon and tomato sandwich with a quiet young man named Clarence Cleary.
Work as a librarian brought her into contact with all sorts of youngsters, from the children of the unemployed to the offspring of doctors and lawyers. But it was the children who built scooters out of apple boxes and roller skates who truly inspired her. They asked, "Where are the books about kids like us?" and the young librarian responded with her first book, about a boy named Henry who had a dog named Spareribs-later changed to Ribsy.
Told with the deep understanding of human nature that has made her books beloved by three generations of readers, My Own Two Feet is a lively, unforgettable look at the early years of a woman whose books speak directly to the hearts and imaginations of children everywhere.
About the Author
Beverly Cleary is one of America's most popular authors. Born in McMinnville, Oregon, she lived on a farm in Yamhill until she was six and then moved to Portland. After college, as the children's librarian in Yakima, Washington, she was challenged to find stories for non-readers. She wrote her first book, Henry Huggins
, inresponse to a boy's question, "Where are the books about kids like us?"
Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the Amercan Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature.
Her Dear Mr. Henshaw was awarded the 1984 John Newbery Medal, and both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. In addition, her books have won more than thirty-five statewide awards based on the votes of her young readers. Her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. Mrs. Cleary lives in coastal California.