12 April 2006

Drop Everything and READ!

Today is National D.E.A.R. day -- Drop Everything and Read. D.E.A.R. time was first enjoyed by Ramona in Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

It is also, not coincidentally, the 90th birthday of the amazing Beverly Cleary. Newsweek recently ran a profile of Ms. Cleary and today's Arizona Republic also features an article.

It's so nice, in an age of tabloids and starlets behaving badly, to see such a wonderful author still so beloved. And who HASN'T read the Ramona books? Even Science Boy confesses to having read them as a child.

So many images come to mind as I write this -- Ramona wearing pajamas to portray a sheep at the Nativity; Ramona cracking a raw egg on her head; writing her Qs as little cats; trying to write her name for a library card; envying Willa Jean's ability to pull all the Kleenex out of a box and still be thought of as cute; Beezus and Ramona being horrified when their parents cook tongue...

I LOVE Ramona. And Ellen Tebbits. And Henry Huggins. And Mitch and Amy. And Ralph. And EVERYONE who inhabits the pages of Beverly Cleary's books.

Thank you, Ms. Cleary, for writing so many books for children -- and their adults to read and cherish and read again. Happiest of birthdays to you. I love you.

NOTE: There are more tributes to Cleary at The Yakima-Herald (where she once worked), Oregon Public Broadcasting, The Washington Post, NPR, The Oregonian, and The Boston Globe. I'm sure there are more that I have missed, but I think I am gonna go read Beezus and Ramona instead of surfing the 'net anymore.

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