'There is no one quite like Ramona Geraldine Quimby', so says Beverly Cleary's website, and she is right. The very first book I ever serialised for a class was Ramona the Pest. The class constantly sniggered about references to Ramona and had in class jokes about 'present' for the rest of the year. I think it is lovely that America has National Drop Everything and Read Day on Beverly Cleary's birthday because of a reference to Ramona taking part in Drop Everything and Read in her school. At the school I teach at we have silent sustained reading or Drop Everything and Read first thing after lunch. Beverly certainly is well-known because of her Ramona, Beezus, Henry and Ribsy characters but look at her website and explore other books with characters you may not have met.
Hardie Gramatky was not as prolific a writer as Beverly Cleary, but he had the added gift of being an artist as well. He worked for Walt Disney and is remembered by children because of his classic book, Little Toot. To commemorate what would have been his hundredth birthday in 2007, his book was reissued with enhanced colour illustrations. To learn more about this listen here.
And, the third birthday of note is that of Sally Hunter, the author/illustrator of the Humphrey books. These stories and the Humphrey's Corner website are for preschoolers and their parents who cherish stories that accompany toys. It is twelve years since the first Humphrey book and children in my library are still keen to borrow Humphrey and Lottie toys to take home with books.