Beverly Cleary, the librarian-turned-children’s book author behind Beezus and Ramona, Henry Huggins, and dozens of other beloved titles, died in Carmel Valley, California, on Thursday, The New York Times reports. She was 104.
Known for her empathetic and relatable portrayals of everyday kids in contemporary settings and for her “clear, direct, and uncomplicated” writing style, as NPR describes it, Cleary waited until her 30s to write her first book. Her inspiration came while working as a librarian. Kid after kid would ask her “for books about ‘kids like us,’” as she once told the Associated Press. “Well, there weren’t any books about kids like them. So when I sat down to write, I found myself writing about the sort of children I had grown up with.”
Writing more than 40 titles over the latter half of the 20th century, per CNN, Cleary received many honors during her lifetime, from the National Book Award to the Newbury Medal. She will be missed.