Beverly Cleary is best known as the author of over forty children’s books such as Ramona the Pest and The Mouse and the Motorcycle , but once upon a time she was a little girl who had a hard time learning to read. Just Like Beverly is a new picture-book biography of the author written by Vicki Conrad and illustrated by David Hohn.
As a small child growing up in Oregon, she owned only two books. Her mother read them to her over and over. Beverly’s mother decided to start a children’s library in town. Soon, there were 62 donated children’s books. Her mother read her book after book, introducing Beverly to fairy tales and books by Beatrix Potter.
School was hard for young Beverly. She was born left-handed which her teachers tried to get her to change. She also came down with smallpox which caused her to miss several weeks of school. Reading was hard and she couldn’t catch up to her class. Plus, she found the reading books to be boring. But, she had a kind second-grade teacher who helped open up the world of books for her. Soon, her love of reading led her to start writing.
Beverly ultimately became a librarian, where a group of rowdy boys asked her where the books were about boys like them. As there were none, Beverly decided to starting writing them. Two years later, Henry Huggins became her first published book. This was followed by several more titles which helped shape the future of children’s books.
Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary is a charming picture book that is informative and can also provide hope for young children struggling to learn to read.