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Beverly Cleary fan girl

German cover of Frostbite
The other day, I saw an ad saying that soon there's going to be a movie version of Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary. And I was like, "Whaaaattt?" Because until that moment, I had totally forgotten those books existed. I don't think I've thought about them in, I dunno, maybe 20 years. And that's just crazy talk because those were some of my very favorite books when I was young, and I was kind of shocked that something like that could just disappear from my head. I mean, a lot of things disappeared from my head around adolescence, but still. Those were pretty influential. I read Ramona Forever a billion times. Ironically.

Having my memory jogged, I immediately had to ask myself a horrible yet pressing question. Beverly Cleary first started publishing ~1950s...and so, as morbid as it felt, I had to know: was she still alive? Naturally, I went to everyone's #1 most factual source in the world: Wikipedia. And holy crap, she is still alive--at a fierce and impressive 94-years-old. I can't fully explain how happy this made me. She's an iconic person to me--one of the greatest writers of children's literature. Being a writer myself, though nowhere near that league (Nowhere. Near.), I just felt so happy upon rediscovering her.

Because here's the thing. When I was in elementary school, I sent her a letter (a paper one - that's what we did back in the 80s) telling her how much I liked her books and that I wanted to be an author too. And guess what? I got a response back. It was a postcard, which I imagine her publisher had en masse with autographs and messages like "Thanks for the letter." After not being able to keep up with my own mail, I totally understand the necessity of stock responses, and she's gotten a lot more than me over the years. But get this. My response was only a couple lines long, but it showed that my letter had actually been read. It said: Good luck with your writing!

This would be the coolest story ever if I was able to say I still had the postcard. I don't. I kept it for a long time, but when you're that young, you don't always fully grasp the importance of things like that. Still, I've got the memory, and it's crazy to think that an author who has won award after award and had elementary schools named after her took 30 seconds to read my letter and respond with something unique and relevant to me. The fact that it was about my writing, which I've now inexplicably made a career of, is simply surreal.

If you grew up with those books, then you know what I'm talking about. If you don't know them but have elementary school kids in your life, pick them up. Despite when they were written, there's something very timeless about them and only a few dated references. I don't know what the movie will be like. Like all book-to-movie projects, it's a roll of the dice. But, like all book-to-movie projects, it will also create a surge in sales and introduce a new generation to these books, which is a great thing.

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( 35 comments — Tell me about it, baby! )
michelle_rowen
Jun. 16th, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC)
My Ramona memory is her trying to get her father to stop smoking so she made this elaborate sign to post in the house but she wasn't that good at lettering. Her father, making fun of her attempts, asks who is this Nosmo King guy?

Classic.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 16th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
I vaguely remember Ramona from elementary school over 20 years ago. I can picture the short hair and the tomboyish looks on the book covers, but I can't remember a story to save my life.
I am going to have to go and check out the books from the library now and get caught up in memories.
Shannan Crews
blue_succubus
Jun. 17th, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)
Did you make a sign like that for yourself for your cigarette lapses?
greenhoodloxley
Jun. 16th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
They are timeless. I was discussing them with a co-worker the other day and he was shocked to hear me say the first book was written in the 50's. He'd simply assumed they were a product of his decade - the 80's.

I'm not thrilled with the movie. I guess I'd understand making it a little more if they were setting it in 50's/60's. Putting the story in a modern setting just makes me a little sad.

But as you say, hopefully this will introduce the books to a new generation.
miss_orlean
Jun. 16th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
I hadn't thought of Cleary in years either (were the 80s really that long ago?) ... until I moved to Portland. Now that I have a nephew and a niece on the way I should start re-collecting these childhood favorites to pass on.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 16th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
Ramona memory
I remember when Ramona was so excited about learning to write her name in cursive, only to be disappointed when she realized that a cursive "Q" looks like an ugly number 2. I think that stuck with me because I felt the same way when I learned cursive.
tenoko1
Jun. 16th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
Good luck with your writing!

That's what you wrote in my book when we met in Fairhope. How ironic.
blue_succubus
Jun. 16th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
lol Really? I guess that was my brain unknowingly drawing on my youthful memories! But the message is the same: good luck! :)
annavivian.blogspot.com
Jun. 16th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
I read this series in elementary school and loved it. Back then along with Judy Blume, Ann M. Martin.. Beverly Cleary was one of my favorites. :)
tooimpurenangel
Jun. 16th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
YARD APE! Picky-Picky ! Heh, I love the Ramona books so much. Were you also a fan of Anastasia Krupnik?
megevonne.blogspot.com
Jun. 16th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
What wonderful memories you evoke in me!
Ribsy! Henry! Ramona! Innocent childhood.
nynomi
Jun. 16th, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC)
I was recently reminded of Beverly Cleary's books as well, by hearing about the upcoming Ramona movie on NPR. She was one of my favorite writers as a kid, along with Ruth Chew, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Edward Eager, Eleanor Estes, and Eleanor Cameron.

I think the Ramona books were where I first ran across the word "coolth." Also I think there was someone who wanted to name a doll "Felony"...
dezinha13
Jun. 16th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean...
I get so happy when I get a response from you! :)

Hope you read my letter, it was the most important of everything I sent!
_wilt_or_lie_
Jun. 16th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
They actually made a Ramona TV series for a while, didn't they? I remember watching some of it a long while back after renting the tapes from Blockbuster. I loved the way Ramona always said, "Bee-zus!" Haha. :) Here's hoping the movie will do the books justice.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 16th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
i understan that feeling. cause .. i'd never thought i will dream or want anyone's signing on my book ...but wen i orderd and i get it i was so so happy...couse i live far from the writer and its so cut :S :S
amy34
Jun. 16th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
I love those books! I read them as a kid, and I read them to my own kids. I hope the movie turns out well!
brandogirl
Jun. 16th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
Great story! :) I used to love her books, too, though I can barely remember than anymore.
asiriusgirl
Jun. 16th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
My daughters LOVE that series as much as I did at their age. All 3 of them have read it and my middle daughter is actually in the process of rereading it as we speak.
I remember making the coffee can stilts because of that series :)
sararandall
Jun. 17th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
I think I read every Ramona Book ever written when I was in school. I must find them for my 7 year old.
sararandall
Jun. 17th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, and Runaway Ralph.
jereshkigal
Jun. 17th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
Cool
I wasn't much of a reader when I was a kid. I DID, however, glance over my mother's shoulder every now and then when I was 8 years old as she read her romance novels. Naturally, she was a faster reader than I was which was probably a good thing-lol. I was always more into watching tv shows: Strawberry Shortcake, Gem, Voltron, Thundercats, G.I Joe, etc. Oh, the glorious 80's. *sigh*
nouveauyou
Jun. 17th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC)
I'm so glad that you actually did become an author like you wanted to so many years ago though. Nice having a dream come true! :)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 17th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)
Dimitri's Family
Hey, I love your VA books! But I noticed something you might want to change in the first book to make it work with the forth. When Dimitri is taking care of Rose's hands, and tells her about his family, and she asks about it, he says, "My Mother and TWO sisters," but, in Blood Promise he has three. Just thought I'd point that out for future copies of the book.
aura_jimenez
Jun. 17th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
i have a feeling that after last sacrifce iam goin 2 be cryin 4 lyk 1 a week lol
the21sthunter
Jun. 17th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Funny you should mention that
It's funny you should mention worshipping an author like that. I'm not sure whether you're aware of it or not, but a lot of your fans feel the same way about you. I know I personally do. You've influenced a lot of reading styles in my life, and even some writing stuff. If it weren't for your books I never would've gotten into writing, and therefore I never would've won all the youth writing contests I have today. So thanks Richelle! You're amazing--and I can never thank you enough for creating Dimitri. ;)
return2zero
Jun. 18th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
The dynamics between Romana and her sister fascinated me as a kid (you and I seem to be about the same age)!

I'm the oldest of two girls so books like this (along with say Blume's FUDGE series) captured my attention too!

Movie is out July 23rd - cast looks pretty good - time to save up the quarters!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 18th, 2010 07:41 am (UTC)
Another BC fan... and a new fan of yours
Funny you should mention Beverly Cleary, because I remember reading the Ramona books (and didn't she have a sister or something that was the focus of a few too?) But the one I remember enjoying and reading the most is Dear Mr. Crenshaw... About a boy who wanted to be an author. I kind of liked that book and is one of the ones that inspired me to write some in my earlier days. (In fact, thanks to NaNoWriMi, I've even written a few novels now myself, though none yet close to being ready to even offer to a publisher... Just need to work on them ;)

Picked up Storm Born earlier this week and am already halfway through it. A little different from the fantasy I usually read (I usually go more for epic), but was in line with a story idea or two I have had, so thought I'd check yours out. I'm enjoying the characters and can't wait to find out what happens to them!

Hadn't heard about the movie, but I'm sure it'll be fun to watch.

Grady
(Anonymous)
Jul. 3rd, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
Re: Another BC fan... and a new fan of yours
Still haven 't seen any previews, but I did see a poster yesterday when I went to the movies. Now that there's a movie, might have to plan a trip to the library to get one to read...

For my kid... Of course...

OKay... Maybe not really. But that's sounded good, right? :D

Grady
vacrazy
Jun. 18th, 2010 08:01 am (UTC)
OMG! I Loved those books when i was little!( Which was like 6 years ago.)I can't believe there making a movie out of it! Although the other classic book turned Movie was..... Disappointing. (I liked the Harriet the Spy book MUCH better.) Anyway i was just thinking "What if they made VA in to a MOVIE!!! I was screaming at the thought! Humm wonder if u could convince someone to do that?!!? I reserve full rights to disapprove of the actors however.Because i personally didn't like Kristen as Bella. I mean i think she a great Actor just not for Bella.But personally i would LOVE a Vampire Academy MOVIE! I'm screaming AGAIN!!AHHH!!!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 18th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
Richelle Mead is awesome
I love you Richelle! However having to wait until December for Last Sacrifice not so much!!! You're great! I love that I can read your blog and see what your up to I think it's really cool you let the fans into your life like that. It's kinda like being friends I feel like I know you but I don't.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 20th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
I totally get what you mean! This probably sounds MAJOR stalkerish, but I commented on your facebook about a month ago and I was STOKED when you replied. Even though it was really short, my friends and me were ecstatic.. the fact that one of our favorite authors has replied to me and had READ what I wrote? Unbelievable! Anyway, I just wanted to say that you're a MAJOR inspiration for many, including me. I wanna be a writer when I grow up, and even though I know it's awfully difficult, I really hope I can be one.
And the only reason you don't have as many fans as beverly cleary is because she's been around for way longer than you!
But you're a fantastic author, MUCH better than those repulsive twilight books. Dimitri was a REAL vampire, and Meyer would learn quite a bit from reading your books. ;] keep it up, richelle! we loveee you.:}
nas_101
Jun. 21st, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
i Agree!!
Lol, i remember when Richelle replied to me here on her blog and man was i happy. If the world ended right then and there i would have died a happy teenager. I was so excited i got in my car and drove to my friends house (no there was no such thing as calling her). We both did one embarrassing happy dance in front of her house which earned us some rather terrifying looks from her old grumpy neighbour (*shutters* i still remember them) and then i went back home to check Richelle's blog again just to see if the comment and reply was still there. IT WAS!! which meant i wasnt dreaming.

We love you Richelle, keep up the good work!!
xoxo Nas.
trish_101
Jun. 21st, 2010 11:10 am (UTC)
I love vampire Academy
My names Trish, I've got a thing for the Vampire Academy books. I completely love them! They are as good as Twilight.. even better! I think you have done a great job with interesting many people with these books. Dimitri's my favourite character wooh! I was just wondering how you get all these cool ideas? I want to write when I'm older. I just dont know how to get good ideas... Like am I meant to dream them? Please reply it would be cool for me and I'd like to know,

Trish. :)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 22nd, 2010 05:02 am (UTC)
Ca va
You are smarter than your readers cherie!!! Have fun!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 22nd, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
I'll check out the books if there's going to be a movie version.
( 35 comments — Tell me about it, baby! )
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