Beloved children’s book writer and UC Berkeley alumna Beverly Cleary celebrates her 102nd birthday today. Beverly Cleary Hall in Berkeley’s residential Unit 3 is named for her.
Cleary’s books — populated by the likes of Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy, Ramona Quimby and Beezus Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse — have sold 91 million copies since her first one, Henry Huggins, was published 68 years ago.
In her honor, her birthday, April 12, is celebrated as National D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Day. An ABC News post noting her milestone says she struggled as a young reader. But she went on to attend UC Berkeley, where she met Clarence Cleary and, although her parents disapproved, she married him and they were together until his death in 2004.
Cleary is a National Medal of Arts winner and Library of Congress Living Legend.