If there's one early influence bigger than Dr. Suess in my love of reading, it would have to be Beverly Cleary.
The children's book writer gave us the classic characters of Henry, Ribsy, Ralph S. Mouse, Beezus and, of course Romana.
I consumed her books growing up, reading each one multiple times. I can probably still recite passages from many of my favorites. Some of my favorite moments include Henry Huggins catching a salmon, Ramona's first day in kindergarten ("Sit here for the present.") and Beezus' disastrous haircut.
I've given her books to youngsters for b'days and other occasions, hoping they'll catch the same love of reading. I hope that someday if I'm blessed with children I can share the world Beverly Cleary created with them.
Today is Cleary's 95th birthday. So, let me add my wishes for a great birthday to Beverly Cleary and a thanks for helping open the door to a lifetime love of reading.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/13/2011 07:11:00 AM