By Janet Goetze
for the Hollywood Star News
Neighbors are ready to celebrate the 100th birthday of Beverly Cleary, the author of books about Ramona, Beezus and Henry Huggins and their activities around Klickitat Street. OPB will offer a free advance showing of a documentary, “Discovering Beverly Cleary,” from 2 to 4 p.m. April 2 at the Hollywood Theatre. The documentary, the first made about the life and legacy of the native Oregonian, will air on OPB at 8 p.m. April 7, said Lauren Elkanich, OPB public relations manager.
Those attending the birthday party at the theater may sign a birthday card for the author and watch artist Tracy Dockray illustrate Ramona, one of Cleary’s characters beloved by readers. The first 100 families at the party also may receive an advance copy of the book, “Walking with Ramona: Exploring Beverly Cleary’s Portland,” by Laura O. Foster, which will be published later this year.
Earlier on April 2, walking tours around the Grant Park neighborhood, where Cleary spent much of her girlhood, will begin at the Hollywood Library. However, registration is required and a waiting list is established for the walks starting at noon, 12:30 and 1 p.m., Elkanich said. Registration is available in the library and at the library’s website.
Beverly Bunn Cleary was born in McMinnville and lived on a farm in Yamhill until age 6. Her first autobiography is titled “A Girl From Yamhill.” Her parents moved to Portland about the time she started school and initially she had difficulty learning to read. She later mastered the skill, of course, attending Fernwood Elementary School, now called the Fernwood campus of the Beverly Cleary School.
She graduated from Grant High School and went on to receive a degree in library science from the University of Washington. She started writing books she thought would appeal to youngsters who wanted to read about children like themselves. The first, Henry Huggins, about a boy, his friends and his dog, was published in 1950. After the Henry books came stories about Beezus, little sister Ramona, Ralph S. Mouse, and twins, Mitch and Amy, inspired by her own twin children. Cleary, the winner of many literary awards, has lived in Carmel, California for many years.