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March 05, 2012

Try! - Advice from Beverly Cleary

Posted in: Children's Books, General, Writing for Children

children's book author

So I’ve been rereading Beverly Cleary’s autobiography, A Girl from Yamhill and I latched on to one short passage from the time I had for reading this morning.

Cleary wrote that the local shoe store announced a contest sponsored by Keds shoes for the best essay about an animal and that many in her class planned to enter. Determined to do her best, Beverly chose to write an essay about the beaver, the state animal of Oregon (where she lived). She wrote the essay, delivered it to the store and eagerly waited for the results. Here is what Cleary writes in her autobiography about that fateful day:

On the final day of the contest, I ran to the store to learn the results. I had won! Mr. Abendroth handed me two dollars. Then he told me no one else had entered the contest.

This incident was one of the most valuable lessons in writing I ever learned. Try! Others will talk about writing but may never get around to trying.

I don’t think I can add much to that, other than to say A Girl from Yamhill is a fantastic book. There aren’t many books that I REread, but this one was too good to only enjoy once!

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