Today is Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday. This Girl from Yamhill has delighted generations of newish readers with her stories. For years, her birthday was also known as “Drop Everything And Read” day – now it’s celebrated for the entire month of April. Ten years ago I first wrote about the day and enjoyed seeing friends and family reflect on their favorite Ramona memories.

Reading Girls

My love of reading began as child and some of my favorite moments with my Texas girlies throughout the years have involved reading…from the time each of them were little babes, I have read to them…now they all read to me…and Miss M & I even have read books from afar & had some book club type conversations…

In honor of this bookish birthday, on this Tuesday, I’m sharing 10 quotations from favorite children’s books that make me want to drop everything and read. Some of these books are from my childhood & some that are more recent discoveries. Many of these are series – which provided hours and hours of entertainment throughout the years.

“She was not a slowpoke grownup. She was a girl who could not wait. Life was so interesting she had to find out what happened next.” – Beverly Cleary, Ramona the Pest

Ah, Ramona. The Ramona Quimby series…so much can be said about these fun books from childhood reading…all these years later its amazing how many things still bubble up from the stories. And really, who can look at the capital letter Q and not think of Ramona creating her cat signature?

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

The ValueTales Series filled my bookshelves as a child. These short and simple stories provided a gateway to many great people throughout history. Throughout school, many of my research projects were on subjects I first discovered in my ValueTales readings. Among my favorites: The Value of Learning: The Story of Marie Curie; The Value of Dedication: The Story of Albert Schweitzer; The Value of Fairness: The Story of Nellie Bly

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” – R.J. Palacio, Wonder

Wonder pulled me in from the beginning. When I finished it, I bought several copies for dear ones and put it in hands with the nudge to “read this now.”

“Humans speak too much. They chatter like chimps, crowding the world with their noise even when they have nothing to say.” – Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan – A fun read over Thanksgiving break that had me chuckling out loud. A delightful read aloud with the 10 year old in WI when I was there in February.

“If everything’s the same, then there aren’t any choices! I want to wake up in the morning and decide things!” – Lois Lowry, The Giver

The Giver Quartet is a more recent read for me – I read the first book several years ago. More recently, I gave the quartet to Miss M who devoured the set and I quickly read the entire series, too. So many things to contemplate coming out of these…

“I have never tried that before, so I think I should be able to do that.” – Pippi Longstockings

The Pippi Longstockings stories are filled with spunk and adventure. When Miss M was little, I gave her a book of Pippi stories for an early birthday and when I would visit I would read them to her before naptime.

“I guess I love mischief as much as Amelia Bedelia. I simply enjoy laughing at life.” – Peggy Parish

The Amelia Bedelia series was such a fun “early reading” series – I think this was the start of my love of puns and wit in simple words. To this day, when I hear some phrases I’m reminded of some of her “-isms.”

“It’s good to toast space exploration and fancy gadgets, but it’s more important to raise a glass to the beauty of soft candlelight.” –Nancy Drew, The Sign of the Twisted Candles

Ah, Nancy Drew…the start of my mystery/thriller enjoyment that continues even to today. Years ago I shared insights into my love of the Nancy Drew series as I finished reading a good narrative nonfiction about the syndicate that cranked out story after story.

“There’s no great loss without some small gain.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie

Of course this Midwest girl is enamored of the stories of Laura and her family as they braved life on the frontier.

“My name is Skippito Friskito. (clap-clap)
I fear not a single bandito. (clap-clap)
My manners are mellow,
I’m sweet like the Jell-o,
I get the job done, yes indeed-o. (clap-clap)”
– Judy Schachner, Skippyjon Jones

Miss M introduced me to the Skippyjon Jones series in the picture above in 2010. Silly, funny, and perfect for read aloud. It was fun to have Miss M read aloud to me including fun voices and accents to tell the stories.

Thanks to Carole for taking my Ten on Tuesday suggestion for books that make you want to drop everything and read. While there are also many non-kids books that I would happily stop, drop and read – it only seemed right for me to focus on kids books on this milestone day for a favorite author from my childhood.

What books make you want to drop everything and read? 

p.s. Here’s a great Op-Ed from Nicholas Kristof to mark this centennial birthday.