A real estate agent in Portland, Ore., has gotten hold of a literary property: The childhood home of children's book author Beverly Cleary. The 1910 bungalow was listed this month at $362,000.
Cleary is 96 and in an assisted living facility that celebrates her work -- Ramona is everywhere. Her family moved to Portland from rural Oregon when Cleary was 6. She published her first novel, "Henry Huggins," in 1950. The middle-reader book included a minor character, a bratty little sister named Ramona.
Cleary wrote about 40 books, but Ramona was a powerhouse, taking on a life of her own. There were eight Ramona books, from 1955's "Beezus and Ramona" to 1999's "Ramona's World." Ramona books won a National Book Award in 1981 and Newbery Honor medals in 1978 and 1982.
When Cleary was awarded the L.A. Times' Robert Kirsch Award in 2011, she said she wanted to write about ordinary American children. "The books I grew up with and found in the library … so many children lived in England and had nannies and pony carts, and I just wanted grubby neighborhood kids." The Times' David Ulin explained, "This is the secret of Henry Huggins, who — along with Ramona; her big sister, Beezus; and the other residents of Portland's Klickitat Street — centers so many of Cleary's books: that in their stories, generations of children have seen themselves."
Could the neighborhood where Cleary's three-bedroom, 1,872-square-foot house at 3340 NE Hancock Street have been an inspiration? "Charming street with curb appeal," writes another Porland real estate agent.
The single-family home has a large deck and a backyard. The living room has a fireplace, there is an eat-in nook in the kitchen, which has mint-green tile, and there are lots of period details.
The only downside seems to be that as of this morning, an offer on it is pending.