When news hit that the beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary had passed on March 25, it seemed inevitable—she was 104, after all—and yet it was still deeply devastating, especially to the children and adults alike who had grown up with and had been shaped by her works. Her characters like Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and more, give children people with whom they can identify, even though their stories preserve an extinct midcentury America.
Throughout her 20-year journalism career in Oregon, Portland Monthly news editor Julia Silverman had long dreamed of one day interviewing Beverly Cleary. And, sadly, while she can’t quite do that now, she did the next best thing, which is to call up a local author, also profoundly inspired by Cleary’s works, to talk about the late writer’s vast and enduring legacy.
In this episode of Footnotes, Julia Silverman talks with Portland-based author Lydia Kiesling about how Beverly Cleary wrote about motherhood, parenting, and Portland.