Beverly Cleary dies at 104


 American children’s book author Beverly Cleary, who responded to a young reader’s plea for realistic characters by bringing rare insight and humor to the lives of Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and the other children who populated her more than 40 books, has died at age 104, publisher HarperCollins said.

Cleary died on Thursday at her home in Carmel, California, where she had lived since the 1960s, a statement from HarperCollins said. No cause of death was given.

The author said she had aspirations of writing as a sixth grader, but first became a librarian. At a library in Yakima, Washington, a young boy provided the impetus for her writing career when he asked Cleary where he could find books about “kids like us.”

Cleary decided she wanted to write about ordinary “grubby kids,” she told the Los Angeles Times, rather than the English schoolboys and girls who seemed to dominate the plots of children’s literature at the time.

That led to “Henry Huggins,” her 1950 book about a boy growing up on Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon, not far from the street where Cleary herself had lived. There would be six books about Henry and his dog, Ribsy, but he would be overshadowed by Ramona Quimby, who started as a supporting character in the Henry books and eventually was celebrated in her own series of eight books.

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