An interview with Beverly Cleary about her inspiring books for children

Ramona Quimby illustration by Louis Darling

[Beverly Cleary is 100 years old today. Here's an entry I posted in 2006 about an NPR interview with the great children's book author.--Mark]

I'm over a month behind in listening to podcasts, so I just got around to listening to this NPR interview with Beverly Cleary. She just turned 90, and her mental acuity is better than most people half her age.

She said that she was a children's librarian in 1940 and got the idea to write kids' books when some boys at the library complained that they couldn't find any books "about kids like us." So she sat down and started writing stories about the kids she had had gotten to know at the library.

My daughter is now reading Beverly Cleary books. I flipped through them and was disgusted to see that the books do not use Louis Darling's darling illustrations. Instead, the publisher is using looser, more cartoony illustrations that have none of the charm or humor of Darling's work. I wish NPR would have asked Mrs. Cleary what she thought of this depressing switcharoo. Link