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March 31, 2016

Ideas for Celebrating Beverly Cleary's 100th Birthday (Older Students, too!)

I’m forwarding this via OSLIST because of the information about free access for the month of April to a Biography in Context (Gale database) portal page about Beverly Cleary.

Beloved children’s book author, Beverly Cleary, was born on April 12th, 1916 in McMinnville, raised in Portland, and now lives in California. In 1950, Cleary published her first book, Henry Huggins, which is about a boy, his dog, and his friends who live in the Hollywood neighborhood in Portland. The Oregon State Library, Oregon Library Association, and Oregon Public Broadcasting (OBP) are partnering to celebrate Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday. Here are some ways to include your elementary and secondary students.

The 100 Years of Beverly Cleary webpage offers many suggestions, including games to play, ideas for Drop Everything and Read since the activity originated in a Ramona book, and details about hosting a screening event for the 30-minute OPB documentary, “Discovery Beverly Cleary.” The show will be available online for anyone to watch soon after it airs on April 7th. In the meantime, folks can explore OPB’s interactive site about Cleary.

Most ideas on the 100 Years of Beverly Cleary webpage are geared toward elementary students, but secondary students can participate, too. For example, they can…

  • Watch and discuss the Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) documentary, “Discovery Beverly Cleary,” in which Ms. Cleary is interviewed
  • Read one of Cleary’s biographies and then discuss her impact (A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet)
  • Create neighborhood maps since the neighborhood features prominently in Cleary’s books
  • Book talk or read excerpts from one or some of Cleary’s books – or a whole book over several visits – to children in afterschool programs
  • Learn more about the author by exploring the resources in the Biography in Context portal page. The folks at Gale have generously made the page available to all Oregonians for the month of April.

For those in or near Portland, you may be interested to know about Walking With Ramona: Exploring Beverly Cleary's Portland, a guidebook by Laura O. Foster to be published this fall. Multnomah County Library links to a map of the 3-mile walking or biking route.

Last, most public libraries will be celebrating Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday the week of April 12th. Contact your local library to find out what activities they have planned and when they are taking place.

Happy birthday, Ms. Cleary!

Jennifer Maurer
School Library Consultant
Oregon State Library