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Literature — Famed author celebrated with documentary featuring a rare interview

Yamhill County native and renowned author Beverly Cleary will celebrate her 100th birthday next month, and OPB is commemorating the occasion with a documentary featuring a rare interview with the author herself.PHOTO COURTESY OF OPB
NATIVE - Renowned children's author Beverly Cleary was born and spent her early life in Yamhill County, before moving to Portland with her family.

Born in McMinnville in 1916, Cleary lived on a farm in Yamhill at an early age before moving to Portland with her family.

“As a young girl growing up in Portland, Cleary struggled with reading and found herself in a low reading group — an experience that gave her sympathy for the problems of other struggling readers,” according to an OPB release. “Cleary set out to write books that she longed to read, but was unable to find on library shelves — stories about her neighborhood and kids like the ones she knew.”

She went on to author books that have received widespread acclaim and garnered numerous awards. Her stories feature the characters of Ramona Quimby, Beezus, Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse, Socks the Cat and others.

OPB produced “Discovering Beverly Cleary” to celebrate the author’s birthday, taking a look at her life and her enduring work. The show features an interview with Cleary, who talks about her time growing up in the McMinnville area, among other topics.

The documentary explores Cleary’s early life and her connection to Oregon, particularly life in Yamhill and in northeast Portland. It also looks at her impact on the community in which she lived and that inspired many of her stories.

The half-hour documentary airs at 8 p.m. April 7 on OPB.

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