If you, like us, picked through boxes of tattered paperback books while home over the holidays, you’re probably still feeling as nostalgic as we are. Our dog-eared copies of beloved series and flashlight favorites brought back memories of those carefree days when you had all the time in the world to get lost in a book. Although we’ve grown into busier schedules and wider literary tastes as adults, nothing beats the familiar comfort of a beloved childhood author. Here’s a look back at some of the seminal writers who defined our early reading careers, and an update on what they’ve been doing in the meantime. Help jog our memory with other forgotten favorites in the comments section.
Inspired by book-starved kids at the library where she worked in the late ’40s, Beverly Cleary set out to write stories that would be more accessible and relatable to her young patrons. Her resulting stories — beginning with Henry Huggins and later including favorites like The Mouse and the Motorcycle and the Ramona series — offered a combination of wit and charm that was rare among children’s and young adult literature. Still writing at age 94, Cleary continues to be honored as both an author and champion of librarianship, with honors and awards as varied as her characters: National Drop Everything Day is a promotion of sustained silent reading that takes place on her birthday (April 12th) every year, she’s received both the national Medal of Arts and the Library of Congress Living Legends award, and there’s even a dorm at UC Berkeley named after her.