Beverly Cleary Is About to Turn 100...

...and she's still got more pep and gumption than most people will have at any point in their lives.
Cleary herself will turn 100 on April 12. Asked by TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager about her upcoming birthday, Cleary responded with true Ramona spirit, saying, "Well, I didn't do it on purpose!"

She'd never assumed she'd make it to the century mark, Cleary said. "I remember a very earnest conversation my best friend and I had when we were, I guess, freshmen in high school, about how long we wanted to live," the author recalled. "And we decided that 80 was the cut-off date."

Two decades after that cut-off, it's not the awards or critical reviews that please Cleary the most, but how much her work delighted its young audience. She's proudest, she told TODAY, simply of "the fact that children love my books."

...With more than 40 books to her credit and the love of countless fans, Cleary has much to look back on, but she's keeping a little mystery about what lies ahead. When asked by Jenna Bush Hager what she's looking forward to, she replied "At my age? Well, I'll leave that up to you."

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