Beverly Cleary, the beloved and possibly immortal children's author, has turned 103.

Beverly Cleary never planned to live past 80. Now she's 103.

You'd be hard pressed to find an American who isn't familiar with quirky Ramona Quimby, her big sister Beezus, their neighbor Henry Huggins, and his scrappy dog Ribsy. Beverly Cleary made her living with her knack for getting into the mind of children, and her stories and characters have been beloved for generations.

If you've ever wondered what became of Beverly Cleary, she's still kicking. In fact, she turned 103 on April 12, 2019, which is impressive considering the fact that she once said she never planned to live past age 80.


In an interview with Today on her 100th birthday, she told Jenna Bush Hager that she didn't live this long "on purpose." But the centenarian's age sure doesn't seem to be stopping her from being incredibly awesome.

Cleary spent her early childhood in a small town in Oregon with no library and didn't learn to read until second grade.

It wasn't until her family moved to Portland that Cleary became a solid reader. Her school librarian suggested that she become a writer, and Cleary's path was set. She wanted to write about kids like the ones she knew in her own neighborhood, and so she created the characters so many of us grew up getting to know.

Cleary says she's always gotten her ideas for characters and stories from her own experiences and the people around her. Even the name of Ramona Quimby came to her when she was thinking of creating a little sister character and heard a neighbor outside call out "Ramona!" to another neighbor.

She says one reason children love Ramona is "because she does not learn to be a better girl."

"I was so annoyed with the books in my childhood," she said in an interview with Reading Rockets," because children always learned to be better children, and in my experience, they didn't. They just grew, and so I started Ramona, and — and she has never reformed. And she — she's really not a naughty child, in spite of the title of Ramona the Pest. Her intentions are good, but she has a lot of imagination, and things sometimes don't turn out the way she had expected."

Cleary said Ramona was modeled after a little girl who lived near her who was "considered rather impossible."

"I have a vivid memory of her coming home from the grocery store," Cleary said. "In those days, children could be sent to the store. And she had a pound of butter, which she had opened, and she was just eating the pound of [chuckling] butter.

And somehow, that little girl became Ramona, although Ramona never ate a pound of butter."

The prolific author has sold 91 million books, making her one of the most successful authors of all time.

Cleary has been decorated with so many literary awards, it would take half an article to name them all. She has sold 91 million copies of her books, which are still staples in children's libraries and elementary classrooms around the world. The fact that children still love to read her books so many decades after they were written is a testament to Cleary's genius.

When Jenna Bush Hager asked Cleary what she was most proud of, she simply answered, "That children love my books."

Indeed, they do. Thank you, Ms. Cleary, for sharing your stories with us for all these years.

More

Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

RELATED: This service dog and veteran are raising awareness for PTSD in inspiring ways

"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity

Graphic helps identify what triggers you emotionally in relationships

Knowing your triggers helps you manage your emotions.

via Blessing Manifesting / Instagram

Learning your emotional triggers on your own is one thing but figuring out your triggers in a relationship adds another layer of intensity. Maybe you're afraid of being abandoned or want to feel the need to push the other person away but you don't know why.

If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. It's why artist and mental health advocate Dominee Wyrick created a graphic to help you identify what triggers you in relationships.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

15 'habits' of people who grew up with an 'emotionally fragile' parent

Having an emotionally fragile parent can leave lasting damage.

via The Mighty

If you grew up with an "emotionally fragile" parent, chances are, you didn't have the typical, idyllic childhood you often see in movies.

Maybe your parent lived with debilitating depression that thrust you into the role of caregiver from a very young age.

Maybe your parent was always teetering on the edge of absolute rage, so you learned to tiptoe around them to avoid an explosion. Or maybe your parent went through a divorce or separation, and leaned on you for more emotional support than was appropriate to expect of a child.

Keep Reading Show less
Family