I’m a few days late on this, but since National Library Week (and the magic of children’s books) is on the brain, I think many of you will still appreciate the news.
Monday, April 12, was Beverly Cleary‘s 94th birthday. Every year, the date is commemorated as D.E.A.R. Day, which stands for Drop Everything and Read. In Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona’s class celebrates D.E.A.R. Day, and now schools and libraries all over the country host events.
I wanted the film to be called Ramona Quimby or Ramona Q, because it’s about a little girl, but the movie people were very concerned about their teenage audience and made Beezus older. They included Henry, which I did not want and even had them kiss. I asked to have that scene removed and at this point I don’t know if they did. I expect to get letters saying, “It wasn’t like that in the books.” The little girl who plays Ramona is excellent. She likes my books and was eager to play the part. I’m very pleased with the cinematic Ramona.
Other authors left birthday messages for Cleary, including Judy Blume, who said: “You made me fall off the sofa, laughing. You delighted my daughter. My grandson memorized your books. When I began to write you were my inspiration. You will always be my inspiration.”
Has anyone participated in D.E.A.R Day? In elementary school, my favorite day of the year was read-a-thon, when we’d get to bring books, pillows, blankets and snacks and spend the entire day reading on the floor.
Related in BookPage: Read an interview with Beverly Cleary.