Childhood, Reading, & Joy: 11 Beverly Cleary Quotes We Love

Honor the legacy of author Beverly Cleary by reading 11 of her most inspirational and joyful quotes!

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Beverly Cleary, beloved children’s author, created iconic characters that have forever influenced children’s literature. Her books have been read and loved by over 80 million people. I can vividly remember relating to and laughing at Ramona Quimby as a child, Cleary had many words of wisdom about writing, childhood, and education. Here are some of our favorites:

“I think the best teachers had a real interest in the subject they were teaching and a love for children. Some of the teachers were just doing their job, but others had that little extra.”

“I hope children will be happy with the books I’ve written, and go on to be readers all of their lives.”

“I don’t think anything will ever replace the pleasure of holding a book and turning its pages.” 

“If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.”

“When I was in grammar school, I sometimes felt that school didn’t want us to read, because there were long questions after everything we read, and we had to write book reviews and give the theme of the book. I hate — that was the question I hated the most: ‘What was the theme of this book?’ I just wanted to read a book and enjoy it. And I think that’s what children should do.”

“I’ve been surprised at the number of young men that I have heard from who said that they had never liked to read until they discovered my books.”


“My favorite books are a constantly changing list, but one favorite has remained constant: the dictionary.”

“I wrote books to entertain. I’m not trying to teach anything! If I suspected the author was trying to show me how to be a better behaved girl, I shut the book.”

“Quite often somebody will say, ‘What year do your books take place?’ and the only answer I can give is, in childhood.”

“I had a very wise mother. She always kept books that were my grade level in our house.”

“Children should learn that reading is pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school.”

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