Beverly Cleary passed away on Thursday at the age of 104.
The writer was known for her much-loved children’s books, including The Mouse And The Motorcycle, Henry Huggins, and countless others.
The author died in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, where she had lived since the 1960s; no cause of death was given.
Rest in peace: Beverly Cleary, who was known for writing several beloved children’s books, died Thursday at the age of 104
Cleary was predeceased by her husband Clarence and is survived by her children Malcolm and Marianne, as well as her three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
After her death, Suzanne Collins, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books issued a statement mourning the writer’s death and celebrating her legacy.
The business figure said, “Generations of kids count themselves lucky – too happy – to have the very real characters Beverly Cleary created … as true friends who helped shape their growing years.”
She continued, “Her timeless books are a confirmation of her eternal connection to the pleasures, challenges and triumphs that are part of every childhood.”
Cleary was born on April 12, 1916 in McMinnville, Oregon, and moved to Portland with her family when she was six.
Tribute: Suzanne Collins, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, said Cleary’s books were ‘a confirmation’ of ‘the pleasures, challenges, and triumphs that are a part of every childhood’
In her early years, the writer had difficulty reading, which she eventually overcame when she entered the third grade.
After graduating from high school, she received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Washington.
During her time as a librarian, Cleary began to feel sympathy for young children who couldn’t find books with characters they could identify with and who tried to write stories with comprehensible protagonists.
Her first novel, entitled Henry Huggins, was published in 1950 and became the first in a series of books focusing on the character.
A spin-off series focused on sisters Ramona and Beezus Quimby began with a 1955 novel that spawned several sequels.
Spin-off: Cleary began writing a series around Ramona and Beezus Quimby, originally appearing in her 1950 novel Henry Huggins
A movie around the two was released in 2010 with actresses Selena Gomez and Joey King playing the titular characters.
The feature film was directed by Aquamarine director Elizabeth Allen and received mostly positive critical acclaim.
A short-lived Canadian television series was also produced, which aired for one season in 1988.
The last book in the Ramona series, entitled Ramona’s World, was published in 1999.
Cleary received several awards for her writing during her lifetime, most of which were awarded for her contributions to children’s literature.
On the big screen: A 2010 film adaptation of the Ramona series starring Selena Gomez and Joey King was released to mostly positive reviews
In 1975, the author was awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, now known as the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, from the American Library Association.
Nine years later, the writer won the John Newbery Medal for her novel Dear Mr. Henshaw, which was written to appeal to young adults.
In 2000, she was named a Library of Congress Living Legend for her creative contributions to American life.
Three years later, Cleary was awarded the National Medal of Arts alongside figures such as Ron Howard and Buddy Guy.
Honors: In 2003, Cleary was awarded the National Medal of Arts for her work as an author