Today is National Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R) Day. It's celebrated on Beverly Cleary's birthday. It is celebrated on her birthday because "Beverly Cleary receives thousands of letters a year from young readers, many who have participated in D.E.A.R. at school. Their interest in and enthusiasm for this special reading activity inspired Mrs. Cleary to give the same experience to Ramona Quimby, who gets to enjoy D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class in Ramona Quimby, Age 8." (National D.E.A.R. website.)
Today I was honored to be invited to be a guest reader in Mrs. Nader's 2nd Grade class and Mrs. Drake's and Mrs. Brunelle's 3rd Grade Classes. I'm also pleased to say that at least at Chinook Trail Elementary, Beverly Cleary books are still loved by elementary students.
When I was in elementary school, I wanted to grow up and be BEVERLY CLEARY! We had the same first name. How hard could it be. Well, I've only made it half way there. Mrs. Cleary started out as a children's librarian. I'm a children's librarian. Maybe someday I'll make it the rest of the way and become a published children's author. In the mean time, I'm happy to held children learn 21st Century Information Skills and develop a love for reading and books.
My three all time favorite Beverly Cleary Books are Ramona The Pest, The Mouse and the Motorcycle (wonder if Ralph rode a Harley like my husband) and Ralph S. Mouse. I shared a chapter from Ramona The Pest and Ralph S. Mouse with the third graders. I introduced the 2nd Graders to Janet and Jimmy, two precocious twins found in Two Times the Fun.
Even if you are not a kid, you should read a Beverly Cleary book once in a while. It would be good for you. Times have changed. Today's Klickitat Street would look very different from the one in Cleary's books. But I do believe today's children can still identify with Ramona. Wanting to know how Mike Mulligan went to the bathroom if he had to work on the steam shovel all day is a reasonable kindergarten question. And so is thinking that being told "to sit here for the present" means you are getting a present.
I don't remember the name of the librarian or teacher who first introduced me to Beverly Cleary and her wonderful books. But I do know it was one of the nicest things anyone ever did for me. It got me hooked on the world of books, which has made a huge difference in my life.
It's National School Library Month and this week in particular is National Library Week. Take time to stop by and thank a librarian. It will mean more than you know.