Remembering Beverly Cleary, with gratitude

Beverly Cleary with a cat, small image of Ramona Quimby in corner

Multnomah County Library is saddened today by the loss of Beverly Cleary. She was not just a genius whose work influenced generations of children, she was also a tireless advocate for youth literacy and libraries. Using the Northeast Portland neighborhood of Grant Park as a setting in most of her work, Beverly created stories that were of particular importance to the children of Multnomah County. She wrote real characters that were smart, mischievous, crafty, and powerful that every child can relate to. She understood children in a singular way that showed her respect for the child in all of us. 

As a young woman she worked briefly as an intern at Central Library and later went on to become a youth librarian. Later she was inspired to create the world of her most famous character, Ramona Quimby, and others, which is now memorialized in a map of landmarks at Hollywood Library. Beverly Cleary was generous in her financial support of Multnomah County Library and the Children’s Library at Central Library is named in her honor. Through The Library Foundation, she kept a strong connection to Multnomah County Library over the years and still considered MCL her library. 

For all of us at the library, she wrote about children that we might have been or known when we were young or that could be our children, playing through the backyards and neighborhoods that we love. We will be forever grateful to Beverly Cleary for all she has given to our library system, our community and children everywhere. 

. . . and Ramona Quimby, for showing us that life is so interesting she had to find out what happened next. 

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