Little Beverly Bunn was not a good reader as a young child. She was the only girl in the "blackbird" group, the lowest level readers in her Portland, OR second grade class. At the end of the year she was promoted, but on trial, something her mother made her promise to keep a secret. But that probationary second-grader would one day write stories that made the life of elementary school children so much happier and exciting than hers had been.
One day in third grade, on a rainy Sunday afternoon with nothing to do, she picked up a copy of "The Dutch Twins," to look at the pictures. But soon she was intrigued enough to start reading, and keep on reading.
The Rose City(OR) Branch Library became a home away from home for Beverly Bunn, now known of course as Beverly Cleary. What she always looked for, but seldom found, were books about herself - stories about kids in a neighborhood like hers with parents and friends and pets who had exciting and funny things happen to them. By now her teachers and mother began to see the glimmer of talent and encouraged her. Her seventh-grade teacher told the class, "When Beverly grows up, she should write children's books."
More on the popular 90-year old author from the Tucson Citizen, and here's more on the author from her own site.