That’s what Henry Huggins got to do for his 11th birthday. Today is Beverly Cleary’s 95th birthday. Henrik celebrated this morning by turning on Ramona and Her Father on the CD player before preschool. We all celebrated on Sunday with Laura Foster’s Walking With Ramona tour of the Beverly Cleary’s childhood hangouts in the Hollywood District. Henrik and I went on the walk last year, which was on a weekday morning and Rob was able to join us this year. This year’s walk was a little longer and included more interesting details about Beverly Cleary’s life.
We visited the original and current locations of the Hollywood Library, the Hollywood Theater, Glenwood/Fernwood Elementary and two of Beverly Cleary’s houses in the area of her fictional neighborhood. Henrik was quite engaged and shared many details that only a 5 year old, who has memorized every story, could offer. You can feed him a sentence from almost anywhere in any of the Henry, Ramona or Ralph books and he can continue quoting from there. Henrik even got to talk about his tin can stilts on the walk on Sunday.
I was amazed this year at how many historic details about Portland I had learned on Laura’s walk last year. She offers a wealth of historic knowledge about Beverly Cleary and about Portland. I highly recommend her books and her walks. Her upcoming walk schedule can be found here. Thank you, Laura for offering such a fun way to learn about history.
I also can’t say enough about Beverly Cleary’s books. I am really looking forward to Henrik having the opportunity to revisit the stories again soon when he learns to read. He has heard me read the stories, he has heard them performed by Neil Patrick Harris, Stockard Channing and B.D. Wong and soon he will be reading them himself. It might be difficult to determine whether Henrik is actually reading the stories or reciting from memory….
Either way, Beverly Cleary has helped instill a love of reading in Henrik. I know that encouraging boys to read was one of her primary goals when she became a writer. She has definitely succeeded in our family. Thank you again, Beverly Cleary.