Beverly Cleary is one of the greatest children’s authors to ever live – and she’s still living. Just a couple of weeks before her 100th birthday, Cleary consented to an interview with the Today show. Check out the full interview below!
In the interview, Cleary discusses living to 99 (“I didn’t do it on purpose,” she explains) as well as her path from rural Oregon to the pinnacle of the children’s literary world. Surprisingly, Cleary says it all started with a reluctance to read.
“[Children’s] books in those days, back in the 1920s, had been published in England, and the children had nannies and pony carts and they seemed like a bunch of sissies to me,” Cleary told Today. The future children’s book author didn’t read herself until second grade, and never really took to the books that her schools and libraries made available.
Years later, Cleary took it upon herself to fix the problems with children’s literature. She sat down and penned some of the most iconic children’s books ever written, including The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Ramona the Pest.
Unlike those posh English children’s books that Cleary hated, Cleary’s own work has aged remarkably well. Her stories are still widely read by children today. That, she told Today, is what she’s most proud of about her career: “the fact that children love my books.” More than all her awards, Clearly is proud of the reaction that her books got – and still get – from kids. That’s not a bad 100th birthday present.
Featured image courtesy of the Today Show