There are always some books which stick with you. Henry Huggins is one of those books. I can remember my teacher reading it to us and me thinking – yes I want to read that. I preferred Henry to Beezus and Ramona, partly because I felt Beezus was put upon. I too had a younger sister who needed looking after and was a character in her own right.
Fast forward a few years to me being 11, and I was in my school’s library one lunchtime. I happened across a book called Fifteen. It was also by the same. It told the story of a young girl and her first love in the late 1950s. I can still remember bits. She thought he didn’t like her but he ends up with appendicitis. There is also a reference to Macbeth. Anyway I enjoyed it and looking for more books of that sort and that led me on to Constance and from there, the adult library beckoned and I discovered romance books.
I liked the Henry Huggins books so much that I sought them out in the early 1990’s to be able to read them to my children. This was pre-Amazon and getting hold of North American children’s books (even classics) in the North East of England was difficult. I used to stock up when I visited my relations in the US. Thankfully my children could appreciate the adventures of Henry, Beezus, Ramona and Ribsy.
Beverly Cleary who wrote the Henry Huggins, Ramona the Pest and Fifteen books turns 100 this year in April. She is still very much alive. And this year people are celebrating her centenary (particularly during April which is DEAR month – Drop Everything And Read – and promotes sustained silent reading). I happened to click on something about this earlier this month and a whole host of memories welled up. I had totally forgotten about Fifteen but once I saw the name, I knew the story and how much I had enjoyed it.
I am thoroughly delighted that someone whose first book was published in 1950 and whose books have been such a great influence in children's literature and literature in general remains alive.
So who else is a Beverly Clearly fan and which is your favourite Clearly novel or character. If you can quite remember – try visiting her website to jog your memory. There is also a good article about her from 2011 Atlantic Monthly. I plan to keep DEAR month. Actually thanks in part to Cleary, I don't need an excuse to read. I just do it. Maybe I could have a DEAR day today...
And because Harlequin put these out or Valentine’s Day and I pressed send on my latest Viking:
Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods, including VIkings. Her latest Viking Summer of the Viking was published in June 2015.
YOu can learn more about Michelle and her books by visiting www.michellestyles.co.uk