When I was a little girl, Junie B. Jones hadn’t been born yet. Nor had Cam Jansen, Eloise, Madeleine, the Babysitters, or Harriet the Spy. But that’s okay. I had Ellen Tebbits.
Ellen Tebbits , by Beverly Cleary, was the second chapter book I ever read. Ellen was so much like me—the same age, the same straight dark hair and the same kind of mother who made me wear undershirts, snow pants and boots all winter long. But best of all, Ellen Tebbits was funny. From chapter one, when Ellen’s winter underwear kept falling during her ballet class, and she kept tugging it up while Otis Spofford watched and imitated her, I was hooked.
I loved reading Ellen so much that when it ended I was disappointed. Ellen was one of those books which I wanted to go on and on. But I went straight to my library and found another book by the Beverly Cleary, and another, and another.
Beverly Cleary is a superstar in American children’s literature. After penning 46 children’s books, she has won or almost won many awards:
- the 2003 National Medal of Art from the National Endowment of the Arts;
- the 1984 John Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw;
- 1978 and 1982 Newbery Honor Books for Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8;
- the 1975 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award of the American Library Association;
- the 1980 Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association;
- and selection as the 1984 United States author nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, an international award.
Yesterday Beverly Cleary turned 100. Celebrate this terrific author by buying or borrowing one of her novels for your children. Then laugh with Ellen, Otis, Henry, Beezus, Ramona and the gang. What a wonderful legacy Beverly Cleary has left us.
To find out more about this children’s author, go to her website, http://www.BeverlyCleary.com.