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Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary

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Just Like Beverly follows the life of beloved children's author Beverly Cleary from her early years in Oregon to her career as a successful writer who wrote stories, including the wildly popular Ramona and Henry Huggins series, for kids just like her. As a young girl, Beverly Cleary struggled to learn to read and found most children's books dull and uninteresting. She often Just Like Beverly follows the life of beloved children's author Beverly Cleary from her early years in Oregon to her career as a successful writer who wrote stories, including the wildly popular Ramona and Henry Huggins series, for kids just like her. As a young girl, Beverly Cleary struggled to learn to read and found most children's books dull and uninteresting. She often wondered if there were any books about kids just like her. With hard work, and the encouragement of her parents and a special teacher, she learned to read and at a young age discovered she had a knack for writing. Beverly Cleary's story comes to life in this narrative nonfiction picture book as she grows to follow her dreams of writing the books she longed for as a child, becoming an award-winning writer and one of the most famous children's authors of all time. Beautiful illustrations capture Cleary's sense of humor, struggles, and triumphs, and are filled with Easter eggs throughout for fans to discover.


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Just Like Beverly follows the life of beloved children's author Beverly Cleary from her early years in Oregon to her career as a successful writer who wrote stories, including the wildly popular Ramona and Henry Huggins series, for kids just like her. As a young girl, Beverly Cleary struggled to learn to read and found most children's books dull and uninteresting. She often Just Like Beverly follows the life of beloved children's author Beverly Cleary from her early years in Oregon to her career as a successful writer who wrote stories, including the wildly popular Ramona and Henry Huggins series, for kids just like her. As a young girl, Beverly Cleary struggled to learn to read and found most children's books dull and uninteresting. She often wondered if there were any books about kids just like her. With hard work, and the encouragement of her parents and a special teacher, she learned to read and at a young age discovered she had a knack for writing. Beverly Cleary's story comes to life in this narrative nonfiction picture book as she grows to follow her dreams of writing the books she longed for as a child, becoming an award-winning writer and one of the most famous children's authors of all time. Beautiful illustrations capture Cleary's sense of humor, struggles, and triumphs, and are filled with Easter eggs throughout for fans to discover.

30 review for Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary

  1. 5 out of 5

    Etienne

    2,5/5. Little biography for children. I respect the person it presents but the book with its pace, its illustrations and the story, fine but nothing extraordinary in the life of this women, made this book loose some points. It wasn't bad, wasn't really good either! 2,5/5. Little biography for children. I respect the person it presents but the book with its pace, its illustrations and the story, fine but nothing extraordinary in the life of this women, made this book loose some points. It wasn't bad, wasn't really good either!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jen Solak

    As a child, Beverly Cleary’s books were a huge influence on me as I grew up wishing for a sister like Beezus and to have adventures like Ramona. When I saw that this book was the story of Cleary’s life (so far! She is 103 years old!) I was interested for nostalgia’s sake. What I didn’t expect was that the book would have such a wonderful message! The message that you can’t succeed if you never try is a universal message that we all need to hear. The story is told in a simple manner making it a g As a child, Beverly Cleary’s books were a huge influence on me as I grew up wishing for a sister like Beezus and to have adventures like Ramona. When I saw that this book was the story of Cleary’s life (so far! She is 103 years old!) I was interested for nostalgia’s sake. What I didn’t expect was that the book would have such a wonderful message! The message that you can’t succeed if you never try is a universal message that we all need to hear. The story is told in a simple manner making it a great introduction to her life, but what I also enjoyed was that a more straightforward biography is included as well as a timeline. These resources would make this an excellent choice for a student wishing do do a report on Beverly Cleary or for a class to study her as an author. I would also recommend this to anyone who has read the books or who is currently reading them as a way to understand her characters. Furthermore, I would recommend this book for almost any child who is struggling with reading/writing, has feared failure, or just needs some encouragement. Thank you NetGalley for an early copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    KC

    A wonderful look at the life of beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary is a children's picture book written by Vicki Conrad and illustrated by David Hohn. It is a picture-book biography that illustrates how Beverly Cleary created art from her life. Beverly Atlee Cleary was an American writer of children's and young adult fiction. One of America's most successful authors, 91 million copies of her books has been sold worldwide since her first book was published in 1950. Conrad's text is rather simplistic, straightforward Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary is a children's picture book written by Vicki Conrad and illustrated by David Hohn. It is a picture-book biography that illustrates how Beverly Cleary created art from her life. Beverly Atlee Cleary was an American writer of children's and young adult fiction. One of America's most successful authors, 91 million copies of her books has been sold worldwide since her first book was published in 1950. Conrad's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informative. This informative and visually appealing account of Beverly Cleary's path to children's librarian and then author includes humorous details from her childhood that found their ways into the tales of her beloved characters. Backmatter includes an endnote and timeline. Hohn captures her lively spirit through illustrations, reminiscent of those by Alan Tiegreen for Cleary's own books that will keep young readers entertained. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. Cleary had a lonely early childhood as an only child growing up in rural Oregon. After her family moved to Portland, the first grader struggled with reading, unable to identify with boring stories assigned by her irascible teacher and left to wonder. Years later, working as a librarian, she listened to complaints from children asking that same question and was inspired to write stories to which contemporary kids could relate. All in all, Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary is a loving and informative tribute worthy of celebrating Cleary's long life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    Beverly Cleary's books were the very first chapter books I read when I was in second grade. My mom took me to the small Bookmobile library in town and we picked up "Mitch and Amy" and "Emily's Runaway Imagination." I read all of the Ramona books and Henry Huggins and the Mouse and the Motorcycle. I think I'd known that she'd been a librarian - and maybe that memory informed my own career path as well. But this little biography taught me a lot of other things that I didn't know about this literar Beverly Cleary's books were the very first chapter books I read when I was in second grade. My mom took me to the small Bookmobile library in town and we picked up "Mitch and Amy" and "Emily's Runaway Imagination." I read all of the Ramona books and Henry Huggins and the Mouse and the Motorcycle. I think I'd known that she'd been a librarian - and maybe that memory informed my own career path as well. But this little biography taught me a lot of other things that I didn't know about this literary legend - that she struggled with reading as a child, for one thing. Overall, I loved this book! It was like having a visit with an old friend - someone who made a huge impact on my early life. The illustrations were very much like the ones from the Ramona books, which helped connect the two in my mind. I think I need to own a copy of this one :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Hard to believe that Beverly Cleary, famous for Beezes and Ramona is over 100 years old. She is currently 103,to be precise. And her first book, Henry Huggins, was published in 1950. I well remember reading her books when I was in elementary school, and even back in the 1960s, they were of a time long ago. This picture book gives a brief biography of Cleary as a child, and what influenced her stories. And I like that it points out that the most successful books are written by the authors to tell Hard to believe that Beverly Cleary, famous for Beezes and Ramona is over 100 years old. She is currently 103,to be precise. And her first book, Henry Huggins, was published in 1950. I well remember reading her books when I was in elementary school, and even back in the 1960s, they were of a time long ago. This picture book gives a brief biography of Cleary as a child, and what influenced her stories. And I like that it points out that the most successful books are written by the authors to tell stories that they wanted to read when they were kids. Highly recommended as a good intro to this most famous author. Children who enjoy her stories will enjoy learning how she became the author that she is. Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    I love Beverly Cleary's books. I didn't love this biography. I do see the author's challenge; Clearly's life was rather ordinary. I just wish the biography was more inspiring and less report-like. Cleary's voice and personality didn't come through. As Cleary is still alive at 103, there's time to wait for another biography that will spark the imaginations of young readers. Review based on an ARC received through NetGalley. I love Beverly Cleary's books. I didn't love this biography. I do see the author's challenge; Clearly's life was rather ordinary. I just wish the biography was more inspiring and less report-like. Cleary's voice and personality didn't come through. As Cleary is still alive at 103, there's time to wait for another biography that will spark the imaginations of young readers. Review based on an ARC received through NetGalley.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shiloah

    So many reasons to love Beverly in addition to Ramona and Henry. Great biography! Beautiful illustrations.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ms. B

    I enjoyed the appendix, "How Beverly Bloomed" and the timeline at the end of the book more than the actual story. First published in 1950, when she was only 34 years old; her last book was published in 1999 when she was 83. Even more incredible, she is still alive and over 100 years old. I enjoyed the appendix, "How Beverly Bloomed" and the timeline at the end of the book more than the actual story. First published in 1950, when she was only 34 years old; her last book was published in 1999 when she was 83. Even more incredible, she is still alive and over 100 years old.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Obviously this is MY type of book, so I'm a bit biased,--but this really is a wonderful book for all Cleary fans, struggling readers and aspiring writers. Obviously this is MY type of book, so I'm a bit biased,--but this really is a wonderful book for all Cleary fans, struggling readers and aspiring writers.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Great to have a biography of Cleary telling of her path from a struggling student to a famous children's author and pointing out how her characters came from her own life. Absolutely hate the dumb attempt to make this two books by including SIX pages of very small type that tells the whole story AGAIN in another way (ostensibly for advanced readers). Pick your audience and just write one good book, for heaven's sake. What is particularly problematic is that the easy section talks in detail about Great to have a biography of Cleary telling of her path from a struggling student to a famous children's author and pointing out how her characters came from her own life. Absolutely hate the dumb attempt to make this two books by including SIX pages of very small type that tells the whole story AGAIN in another way (ostensibly for advanced readers). Pick your audience and just write one good book, for heaven's sake. What is particularly problematic is that the easy section talks in detail about the evil teacher Miss Falb and the saintly teacher Miss Marius and only briefly mentions Miss Smith in passing. In the advanced section, Miss Smith gets the starring role and the other two never appear. I don't have a problem with a concluding author's note that explains and elaborates on the story already presented, but this is thousands of words (accompanied by essentially duplicate illustrations) that is partly redundant and partly entirely different. Lastly, a two-page timeline tells the whole story AGAIN but with specific years named. It's like they think that readers won't even bother to look at any of the other sections in the book. Cleary's autobiographies (A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet) surely supplied all the details, but these sources are never acknowledged. Seems a little dishonest. What also seems suspect is the similarity to David Stabler's Cleary section in the earlier Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood from Great Writers. Conrad's book just retells the same stories in very much the same words. Perhaps not actionable, but definitely not praiseworthy. Hohn's illustrations are fine - though just average, not exceptional.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Two biographies in one! The main part of the book is the illustrated biography of Cleary. After this, there is a section called "How Beverly Bloomed" which is the bio again, written for older children and adults, with smaller print and more details. Following this is a timeline of Cleary's life. Both biographies are well-written, interesting, and include many fascinating tidbits about Cleary's life. Two biographies in one! The main part of the book is the illustrated biography of Cleary. After this, there is a section called "How Beverly Bloomed" which is the bio again, written for older children and adults, with smaller print and more details. Following this is a timeline of Cleary's life. Both biographies are well-written, interesting, and include many fascinating tidbits about Cleary's life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I love how she was slow at reading and struggled a little. Look at how far she went. This is one of the reasons I love libraries. People can get better.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abbey

    As I've said in multiple book reviews before, Picture Book Biographies are my favorite genre of Children's Literature. 'Just Like Beverly' by Vicki Conrad was a perfect addition to my own personal collection. I have been a fan of Beverly Cleary since I was a kid myself and now I have my own children hooked, as well. My Henry is particularly fond of Henry Huggins. ;) Conrad's book is a beautifully written and illustrated story of what Cleary's life was like as a child. If you've read any of the R As I've said in multiple book reviews before, Picture Book Biographies are my favorite genre of Children's Literature. 'Just Like Beverly' by Vicki Conrad was a perfect addition to my own personal collection. I have been a fan of Beverly Cleary since I was a kid myself and now I have my own children hooked, as well. My Henry is particularly fond of Henry Huggins. ;) Conrad's book is a beautifully written and illustrated story of what Cleary's life was like as a child. If you've read any of the Ramona books, some of it might sound a little familiar. I adore how Cleary knew that kids needed books about other kids just like them and spent her life making that happen. She is an icon and the world has been devastated since her passing earlier this year. Back when the Pandemic lockdown started, I decided that kids who were stuck at home were missing out on their classroom teachers and their school librarians reading to them each day, so I decided *I* would be that reader for them. Vicki Conrad's book was one of my favorites that I shared on my daily reading. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=546... (Part 1) https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=197... (Part 2) A HUGE Thank You to NetGalley & Sasquatch Books for the opportunity to read and review this book. I loved it so much, I purchased a copy for my home library.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: On a farm near Yamhill, Oregon, lived a girl named Beverly Bunn. She had no siblings and there were no other children nearby so her playmates were farm animals. Premise/plot: Just Like Beverly is a picture book biography of children's author Beverly Cleary. The picture book mainly focuses on her childhood and young adult years. The author highlights how events from Beverly's life ended up in her fiction decades later! My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. Beverly Cleary has always been o First sentence: On a farm near Yamhill, Oregon, lived a girl named Beverly Bunn. She had no siblings and there were no other children nearby so her playmates were farm animals. Premise/plot: Just Like Beverly is a picture book biography of children's author Beverly Cleary. The picture book mainly focuses on her childhood and young adult years. The author highlights how events from Beverly's life ended up in her fiction decades later! My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. Beverly Cleary has always been one of my favorite authors. I loved seeing where Beverly got her inspiration. I think it would be a good biography to share with young readers. It isn't too text heavy. For older readers--or adults--I believe Beverly Cleary has two autobiographies. This one won't prove ultimately satisfying for adults who want more, more, more.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Super cute kids non-fiction biography of Beverly Cleary. The colorful illustrations gave me all the good nostalgia feelings remembering when the school librarian allowed me to begin checking out books from the older kids section, and she steered me straight to Ramona. The text is detailed but narrative, rather than lecture-style. At the end is a more adult-ified biography with additional details, illustrations of vintage book covers, and a timeline. This book reaffirmed my belief that a very dec Super cute kids non-fiction biography of Beverly Cleary. The colorful illustrations gave me all the good nostalgia feelings remembering when the school librarian allowed me to begin checking out books from the older kids section, and she steered me straight to Ramona. The text is detailed but narrative, rather than lecture-style. At the end is a more adult-ified biography with additional details, illustrations of vintage book covers, and a timeline. This book reaffirmed my belief that a very decent (and quite enjoyable) education could be gained by reading through a hefty portion of the children’s section of a library. Beverly Cleary fans will enjoy this. And those who aren’t yet her fans, will have string reasons why to begin exploring her books.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janessa

    After reading Ramona the Brave with my six-year-old daughter, I pulled out this picture book biography of Beverly Cleary and we read it together. We both loved it. Hohn's illustrations were a lovely nod to Cleary's iconic Ramona Quimby, and Conrad included wonderful moments from Cleary's childhood that made her feel so relatable to my six-year-old. As we got to Cleary's early married life, there was a wonderful story about Beverly finding a ream of paper in the closet of her new home. When her h After reading Ramona the Brave with my six-year-old daughter, I pulled out this picture book biography of Beverly Cleary and we read it together. We both loved it. Hohn's illustrations were a lovely nod to Cleary's iconic Ramona Quimby, and Conrad included wonderful moments from Cleary's childhood that made her feel so relatable to my six-year-old. As we got to Cleary's early married life, there was a wonderful story about Beverly finding a ream of paper in the closet of her new home. When her husband suggested she use it to write a book - something she'd always longed to do - she laughed. "We never have any sharp pencils!" The next day her husband brought home a pencil sharpener. So Cleary sat down and wrote her first draft of HENRY HUGGINS. I loved reading about her hopeful persistence, and her determination to write books about children just like her.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Becky B

    A picture book biography of librarian turned author, Beverly Clearly, from her childhood to current day. This is a fabulous look at a little girl who couldn't find herself in books and then couldn't find the children she served at the library in books, so she wrote the books that she and they would want to read. And oh boy, did the world agree those books were wanted. It is fun to learn about aspects of Beverly's own childhood that she wove into her stories. I also had no idea that she was a libr A picture book biography of librarian turned author, Beverly Clearly, from her childhood to current day. This is a fabulous look at a little girl who couldn't find herself in books and then couldn't find the children she served at the library in books, so she wrote the books that she and they would want to read. And oh boy, did the world agree those books were wanted. It is fun to learn about aspects of Beverly's own childhood that she wove into her stories. I also had no idea that she was a librarian before she became an author. Make sure you check out the further information in the back of the book. Highly recommended for any budding authors, and of course, fans of Cleary's books. P.S. I just love the illustrations!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume were competing forces in my life as an elementary reader. I loved when a new Beverly Cleary book came out because I loved to stare at the cover and imagine the adventures that await me inside. I always thought it was silly that Ramona called her sister Beezus, even after learning the reason behind it. This biography on the life of Beverly Cleary is absolutely delightful!! While most of my students have no idea who she is, (sad as that may be...even after promoting h Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume were competing forces in my life as an elementary reader. I loved when a new Beverly Cleary book came out because I loved to stare at the cover and imagine the adventures that await me inside. I always thought it was silly that Ramona called her sister Beezus, even after learning the reason behind it. This biography on the life of Beverly Cleary is absolutely delightful!! While most of my students have no idea who she is, (sad as that may be...even after promoting her books), I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to know more about her life and reminisce about my days as an early reader with her magnificent children’s novels!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    A look at the life of Beverly Bunn who grew up as an only child on a farm in Yamhill, Oregon, who struggled with reading as a young grade school student. But soon blossomed into the world famous author Beverly Cleary, who is best known for her children's books the Henry Huggins series featuring Ramona Quimby, and various other books. A look at the life of Beverly Bunn who grew up as an only child on a farm in Yamhill, Oregon, who struggled with reading as a young grade school student. But soon blossomed into the world famous author Beverly Cleary, who is best known for her children's books the Henry Huggins series featuring Ramona Quimby, and various other books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    JoJo Ames

    Beverly Cleary (104 years old at the time of this review) has written many beloved books for children. Her stories transcend time. This picture biography highlights the experiences that made Beverly Cleary the well loved children's author she is. Truly, a living legend! Outstanding illustrations which show the Ramona in young Beverly! Beverly Cleary (104 years old at the time of this review) has written many beloved books for children. Her stories transcend time. This picture biography highlights the experiences that made Beverly Cleary the well loved children's author she is. Truly, a living legend! Outstanding illustrations which show the Ramona in young Beverly!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    FINALLY! A children's biography of Beverly Cleary! I saw this come into our library and I had to check it out for myself. Ramona Quimby is one of my all-time favorite characters and this bio does the great Cleary justice. FINALLY! A children's biography of Beverly Cleary! I saw this come into our library and I had to check it out for myself. Ramona Quimby is one of my all-time favorite characters and this bio does the great Cleary justice.

  23. 5 out of 5

    DaNae

    It is no secret how much I love all things Beverly Cleary. She has written her own biographies, but this picture book version is a gift to her younger fans. I loved seeing many of the early Louis Darling illustrations recaptured, with little Beverly as the star.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    Encouraging book for those struggling to read and at school! lovely illustrations! Sweet :)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    I heart Beverly Cleary, and this wonderful picture book biography is a fantastic nod to her. The illustrations feel Ramona-like, which is such a great tribute. Simple and fun.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marni

    I love a good picture book biography, and this one is perfect. Since I grew up reading Ramona over and over, it was fun to learn that Beverly's childhood contained a lot of similarities. I love a good picture book biography, and this one is perfect. Since I grew up reading Ramona over and over, it was fun to learn that Beverly's childhood contained a lot of similarities.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Stoller

    Find that teacher, that librarian, who helps you discover books and the confidence to read Write what you know and long to see in literature Beverly Cleary does all this and more. This is an excellent picture book biography. HIGHLY recommend!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Every generation of kids needs books with kids who look like them. Thank goodness for the Beverlys, who write true to life and to fill a need.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    This is such a lovely picture book biography of Beverly Cleary. The illustrations are sweet and the author takes us all through Beverly's childhood and adult life, showing the formative events that led her to become one of the most beloved children's authors of all time. Read this book and then hand your kid a stack of Beverly Cleary books! This is such a lovely picture book biography of Beverly Cleary. The illustrations are sweet and the author takes us all through Beverly's childhood and adult life, showing the formative events that led her to become one of the most beloved children's authors of all time. Read this book and then hand your kid a stack of Beverly Cleary books!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Syreeta Moore

    What a charming story! I'm still laughing at the "dawnzer lee light" myself, but Beverly is certainly a funny lady! She is also an inspiration to me now. As a librarian and self-published author, it was really special to see how her love of books shone through her and poured into the care she has for other people. And to be 104! She really is incredible :) What a charming story! I'm still laughing at the "dawnzer lee light" myself, but Beverly is certainly a funny lady! She is also an inspiration to me now. As a librarian and self-published author, it was really special to see how her love of books shone through her and poured into the care she has for other people. And to be 104! She really is incredible :)

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