With over 91 million books sold, Beverly Cleary has captured the experiences of childhood in a way that clearly resonates. Ramona and Beezus, Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse – these characters are a source of comfort and nostalgia for many.
Cleary, born in 1916, has been publishing books for 5 decades. Over the course of those years, she’s spoken a few times in interviews. She’s offered insight on her writing process, her childhood, and most often, her understanding of children as a librarian, a parent, and a writer.
Here Are 16 of the Best Beverly Cleary Quotes
“If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.”
“I don’t necessarily start with the beginning of the book. I just start with the part of the story that’s most vivid in my imagination and work forward and backward from there.”
“I wrote books to entertain. I’m not trying to teach anything! If I suspected the author was trying to show me how to be a better behaved girl, I shut the book.”
“Writers are good at plucking out what they need here and there.”
“In 50 years, the world has changed, especially for kids, but kids’ needs haven’t changed. They still need to feel safe, be close to their families, like their teachers, and have friends to play with.”
“I guess that’s what growing up is. Saying goodbye to a lot of things. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it isn’t. But it is all right.” – The Luckiest Girl
“Ramona could not understand why grown-ups always talked about how quickly children grew up. Ramona thought growing up was the slowest thing there was, slower even than waiting for Christmas to come. She had been waiting years just to get to kindergarten, and the last half hour was the slowest part of all.” – Ramona the Pest
“I think adults sometimes don’t think about how children are feeling about the adult problems.”
“I don’t think anything will ever replace the pleasure of holding a book and turning its pages.”
“My mother always kept library books in the house, and one rainy Sunday afternoon – this was before television, and we didn’t even have a radio – I picked up a book to look at the pictures and discovered I was reading and enjoying what I read.”
“My favorite books are a constantly changing list, but one favorite has remained constant: the dictionary. Is the word I want to use spelled practice or practise? The dictionary knows. The dictionary also slows down my writing because it is such interesting reading that I am distracted.”
“Novels by British writers are among my favorites because our family has enjoyed travel in England and because they are written with an economy of words, as if they were written with a pen instead of a computer. Penelope Fitzgerald is a favorite.”
“I had a bad time in school in the first grade. Because I had been a rather lonely child on a farm, but I was free and wild, and to be shut up in a classroom – there were 40 children on those days in the classroom, and it was quite a shock.”
“I don’t ever go on the Internet. I don’t even know how it works.”
“I know that when I was a children’s librarian, that was about 1940, boys particularly asked where were the books about kids like us, and there weren’t any at that time.”
“I particularly enjoy cello music because our daughter plays the cello. I have listened to her practice for so many hours that I am familiar with the music written for that instrument. I am also fond of the popular music of the 1930s because my future husband and I danced to it so many Saturday nights when we were in college.”
Did you like this list of Beverly Cleary Quotes? For more wit and wisdom, check out these memorable Betty White quotes.
Haley is a Content Moderator at Sporcle. She’s likely to walk into the office with a pastry and a book in hand, and a couple weird blog post ideas in her back pocket. Working at Sporcle is a constant learning experience, but she’s probably never mastering the capitals of the world.