Walking With Ramona Tour | Beverly Cleary

April 13, 2011

Nana’s visit this past weekend coincided with the 95th birthday of Portland’s own Beverly Cleary. With Nana’s love for the author {and libraries} I was thrilled to discover the Walking with Ramona Tour {the beloved young heroine of Cleary’s whimsical books about growing up in Northeast Portland}. The tour began at the Hollywood Library and meandered through the neighborhood streets, including stops at the Hollywood Theater and Colossal Market {the original one-stop Fred Meyer, now Rite Aid}. 

Highlights of the tour included:
Beverly’s childhood home. I”d been on the lookout for this house since moving to NE but it’s actually located on Hancock Street, not Klickitat. Although Cleary never lived on Klickitat, located several blocks over, she thought it sounded more kid-friendly and decided to use it for Ramona’s house.

Picking dandelions at Fernwood Elementary {now renamed the Beverly Cleary School}, the inspiration for Glenwood School:

Riding Rigsby at the sculpture garden in Grant Park:

Walking the tree lined neighborhood streets of Ramona’s world:

Portland artist Lee Hunt sculpted the statues of the Cleary characters in clay, then had them cast in bronze. I’ve always loved these sculptures {and the fountains under Ramona’s and Ribsy’s feet on hot summer days} but now have a new appreciation for them:

Did you read Cleary’s books growing up? Do you have a favorite?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

sparklezine April 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Mike has been reading the Ramona books to the girls and we are just about finished with them. On our next nice day, I think we'll have to take this same tour!

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Portland Sunshine April 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm
katalin April 14, 2011 at 11:36 pm

I just read “Otis Spofford” with one of my reading groups, which they loved. And my whole class read “Muggie Maggie” earlier this year. Beverly Cleary is definitely a favorite. :)

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MaryJo @ reSPACEd April 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Wait, you did this tour on Saturday? So did we!! Did you do the morning tour (we did the afternoon tour, which would explain why we didn't see you guys!) Wasn't it great? Although I have to say, I have always disliked the Ramona statue. Her face freaks me out for some reason …

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Nancy aka Nana April 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Thanks for finding this adventure for us during my short visit. I liked the interaction between Beezus and Ramona, and am inspired to read some of the titles again. I didn't realize that Beverly Cleary had distaste for the children's writing of the day and wanted to make kids come to life more realistically. You learn something every day.

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