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.

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via 1POCNews / Twitter

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