Beverly Cleary

Vern Fisher/Monterey Herald via AP

Happy birthday, Beverly Cleary!

The author turns 100 today, and what better way to celebrate by thinking of all the ways her 100 years on earth have influenced all our lives. Author of the Ramona Quimby series, Cleary made life for a kid a lot easier knowing that her own protagonist, Ramona, had lived through childhood's many ups and downs, including bullying, sibling rivalry and more.

In honor of Cleary's big day, let's look back at the 10 lessons she taught us growing up. But let's be honest, these life lessons are as relevant as ever.

1. All families struggle—When Mr. Quimby lost his job, Mrs. Quimby had to go back to work. Ramona's dad became agitated, and the story featured moments where Ramona quietly worried with Beezus that their parents would become divorced. Seeing such real issues featured in uplifting stories helped kids realize that everyone, even fictional characters, can be affected by life's dilemmas.

2. Bullying is real— Getting picked on was a theme throughout the series, and no one walked away unscathed. But did they let their naysayers get in the way of their dreams? Absolutely not.

Ramona Quimby book cover

3. Family is everything—No matter how much Ramona and Beezus fought (as sisters will) they always came back together at the end and realized their relationship was more important than anything.

4. Do whatever it takes—Never forget the ever-important motto, "Sscrimp and pinch to make ends meet."

5. Sometimes life isn't fair—Often times someone will get the credit that you probably deserve, and you'll want to scream. Ramona learned that firsthand when her arch-nemesis copied her project and the teacher complimented her instead of Ramona. * Seethes *

6. "Right" can mean correct or a direction—Getting to Disney World had never been more difficult.

7. Don't get trapped by one idea—When Ramona and Beezus had to try to cook their mom's famous chicken recipe, they realize they don't have all the ingredients. Instead of freaking out, they swap! Cleary once again teaching readers that anything is possible with just a slight adjustment.

Ramona Quimby book cover

8. Always ask first—Those boing boing curls look tempting, but sometimes it is better to ask to pull one than just grab. That goes for any situation! Whether it's checking out the bounciness of a curl or borrowing something, asking will always work out in your favor—otherwise, you're going to get sent to the bench.

9. "No girls allowed" isn't a thing—One sign wasn't going to stop Ramona from busting into the boys' clubhouse then, and it's certainly not going to stop a girl now. Whether it's the gender wage gap or age discrimination, female celebrities are using their voice to take down that metaphorical sign.

10. Insecurity is real—Ramona stressed that no one would recognize her when she dressed as a witch for Halloween, prompting her to rip off her mask. Even though she was dubbed "the baddest witch in the world," Ramona lost her sense of self when someone mistook her. Sure, it might have been a holiday, but trying new things can often cause some insecurities.

What other lessons did you take away from Beverly Cleary? Sound off in the comments!

And to hear about another children's book, watch the video.

  • Share
  • Tweet

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.