Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary:

Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary:

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Growing up near Yamhill, Oregon, lived a girl named Beverly Bunn. She was an only child who loved stories, but had only two books to keep her company. Her mother, seeing that other children in the small town also needed books, started a children's library and Beverly soon had access to 60+ children's books to choose from. At the age of six, Beverly and her family moved to Portland, Oregon, where at last she found playmates. Together, the friends invented games and roller skated through their neighborhood. However, when Beverly started first grade things suddenly seemed foreign and unfamiliar. With a disciplinarian teacher and placement in the lowest reading group, Beverly felt forlorn by the prospects of school. But Beverly persevered, and by the time she was in fourth grade Beverly was a fluent reader and writer, even entering an essay contest which she won. Beverly dreamed of becoming a writer.

After college she became a librarian. One day an exasperated boy asked her "Where are the books about kids like us?" When Beverly didn't have an answer she knew she could change that. With her first paycheck as a librarian she bought a typewriter. Her new husband, Clarence, also encouraged her writing by buying her a pencil sharpener. Now nothing could stop her. Her first published book was HENRY HUGGINS, thus launching the writing career of one of the most influential authors of modern times. With over 40 published books, and numerous awards, Beverly Cleary tapped into the emotions and rich imaginative world of children with a host of endearing characters. Indeed it's hard to imagine the world without a motorcycle-riding mouse and a gaggle of children playing on Kickitat Street.

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Beverly Cleary's books are an absolute treasure and although I never grew up reading them, they have been such a joy to introduce to my daughter. I can't help but smile when her pretend play insists that we are going to be the Quimby family for the evening.

Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary by Vicki Conrad, and illustrated by David Hohn. Published by @lbfbooks. Out on August 13. 

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