Legend of children’s literature Beverly Cleary died on March 25th in Carmel, California, HarperCollins announced on Friday. She was 104. Since publishing Henry Huggins in 1950, when she was a librarian, Cleary has sold 85 million copies of her books, which have been translated into 29 different languages. She won the National Book Award in 1981 for Ramona and Her Mother and the 1984 Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw, as well as a National Medal of Arts for her lifetime of contributions to American literature.
“We are saddened by the passing of Beverly Cleary, one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time,” Suzanne Murphy, the President and Publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books said in a statement.
Looking back, she’d often say, ‘I’ve had a lucky life,’ and generations of children count themselves lucky too—lucky to have the very real characters Beverly Cleary created, including Henry Huggins, Ramona and Beezus Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse, as true friends who helped shape their growing-up years. We at HarperCollins also feel extremely lucky to have worked with Beverly Cleary and to have enjoyed her sparkling wit. Her timeless books are an affirmation of her everlasting connection to the pleasures, challenges, and triumphs that are part of every childhood.
Beverly Cleary, and her most beloved creation Ramona Quimby, have inspired generations of readers—and almost as many writers. Read Rachel Vorona Cote on how Ramona Quimby taught a generation of girls to embrace brashness, or Annie Barrows on Ramona Quimby and the art of writing from a kid’s mind, or Rachel Richardson on how Ramona Quimby helps us make sense of this unstable world. Cleary will be missed, but Ramona will live forever.