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Dear Mr. Henshaw

(Leigh Botts #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  38,164 ratings  ·  1,662 reviews
Leigh has been Boyd Henshaw's number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid in school. He's lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunchbag. Then Leigh's teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh choose ...more
Paperback, 1st HarperTrophy edition (US/CAN), 134 pages
Published May 31st 2000 by HarperTrophy (first published August 22nd 1983)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  38,164 ratings  ·  1,662 reviews

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Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like to imagine the replies from Mr. Henshaw. "Dear Leigh, Please stop writing to me every single day. I'm glad I impressed you, but you must cease and desist." ...more
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my comfort reads as a kid was Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. I read my copy enough times to leave the pages tattered. This week my first grader brought a copy home from her school library, and I could not resist reading along with her. As it is always a struggle to for me to find quality books for kids, I figured it was time for a trip down memory lane, and, as always, Beverly Cleary does not disappoint her readers.

Leigh Botts is a fifth grader whose parents have just gotten divorced
Ahmad Sharabiani
Dear Mr. Henshaw (Leigh Botts #1), Beverly Cleary
Dear Mr. Henshaw first published 1983, is a juvenile epistolary novel, by Beverly Cleary. Every school year, Leigh Botts writes a letter to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw. In the 6th grade, Leigh's class has an assignment to write letters to their favorite authors. Leigh includes all the questions he was given as a numbered list. Mr. Henshaw writes back, teases Leigh for not doing research, and includes more questions for the boy to answer. Le
Nick Black
This cunningly-woven allegory of the Cold War's nuclear buildup is simple and gripping enough for children to understand, if a bit fleshless. Our adolescent narrator, one Leigh Botts of California (both an immediate reference to Harvard President and Interim Committee member James Bryant Conant and a deep frappe indeed to the testicles-or-vagina of Bridge to Terebithia's androgynous lead character), devoid of a father figure (the waning British Empire, their ocean-spanning fleet here captured in ...more
Cameron Chaney
Holy cow, why didn't I read this as a kid?? I was working on the Bookmobile recently and saw this come through. I thought, "You know, I should probably read that." So I gave it a quick read and was immediately angry at myself for not picking it up sooner. I was Leigh when I was a kid. I was a quiet nerdy kid who loved to read and wanted to be an author and had divorced parents. I would have related to this book so much. It might have even helped me in some way, made me feel less lonely. But at l ...more
Will McGee
Jul 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Rereading this book, I was struck with how Cleary manages to convey her narrator's complex of feelings in the limited vocabulary and understated style of Leigh Botts, a lonely and isolated young boy. Leigh faces several problems in the narrative--his lunch is stolen, he doesn't understand his parents' divorce, he resents a "pizza boy" whose mother Leigh's father seems to be dating--but none are neatly solved; Cleary refuses to resolve them conclusively and instead shows Leigh struggling to addre ...more
Melanie  Brinkman
"De Liver
De Letter
De Sooner
De Better
De Later
De Letter
De Madder
I Getter"

Ever since the second grade, noone has been a bigger fan of author Boyd Henshaw then Leigh Botts. Now in sixth grade, Leigh's life is in upheaval. His parents have split, his cross-country trucker father is absent, and a thief steals from his lunch bag almost every day. So when his teacher assigns a letter writing project, he naturally decides to write to Mr. Henshaw. What if his hero's answer could change his life.

A story
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Watching the movie "Stuck in Love" a character makes reference to this book as his favorite while the hard character of his affection felt the same. It is now one of my favorites as it has so many parallels to my life as a young boy. It doesn't bother me this is Jr. Fiction, what bothers me is, it took so long for me to find. ...more
Apr 21, 2008 rated it liked it
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A brilliant book! Beverly does a fantastic job of showing how Leigh's writing changes as he keeps writing. At first it is short with little to say and by the end he is getting good at showing what happens. A simple story. This is similar to Crenshaw in several ways. This is a powerful story and I can't believe it took me this long to read it. There are great tips if children really want to be a writer too. Please get kids to read this. It's a story will enjoy. ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: z-read-in-2013
I picked this up in a thrift store thinking that it was another book entirely but when I started it I found that it was charming story told from the point of view of a young man dealing with the fallout of his parent's divorce. The young man is given an assignment in school to write to a favorite author and when the author mails him back a list of questions, he endeavors to answer them in series of letters and then journals as he grows up a bit.

Overall it's a great book for children of middle s
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Dear Mr. Henshaw,

FUCK YOU. I heard you reply to children writing letters to you so this I gotta try. Fuck you for replying to Leigh Boots, (that boy who was dumbly obsessed with your books) with 10 stupid questions that are by definition, useless (unless you're a 6-year-old pixie spending afternoon sipping apple juice answering questions from a slumbook.) You might as well stab him in the eye with a corkscrew. It killed his potential, Mr. Henshaw. I know Leigh wouldn't like me writing to you but
Michelle Isenhoff
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Dear Mr. Henshaw is Beverly Cleary’s highest award-winner, capturing the Newbery and Christopher Awards in the early 80’s, yet it is one of my least favorites. Written as a series of letters and journal entries, with absolutely no narration, Mrs. Cleary somehow, miraculously, weaves together a plot, a central-California setting and a well-rounded character. This accomplishment is a testament to her craft; the story is emotional and compelling. I simply don’t care for the style.

In a departure fr
Jun 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: cleary
A sad little bittersweet book. Leigh Botts (boy) is seen here through his letters and journal entries, written both for his own thoughts, and via mail to an author Mr. Henshaw. This book takes place in a West Coast town, near farmlands, and during a decade when a television was discouraged in the homes where children resided. We see four years through Leigh's eyes, but mainly during a time when he's in 6th grade.

Leigh tells his own story forthrightly, and with the intention to be stoic, but he
The feeling of warmth, comfort, and happiness as if you've just drunk a cup of hot dense chocolate... I want to hug this book and sit for a while.

Bailey R
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am currently reading Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary this book is very interesting and funny. Leigh Botts (the main character) writes letters to Mr. Henshaw because the book he is reading is by Mr. Henshaw. They have to do a report on the author of the book they are reading in class. Leigh and Mr. Henshaw write letters to each other about themselves. Leigh has a hard life because his parents got divorced and he lives with his mom. His mom and him don't have a lot of money so they struggle a ...more
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, 2013, mg
Man, how I love this book.
Chance Lee
The closest thing to a perfect book there ever was.
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth
I must have felt too old for Beverly Clearly when this book came out. I listened to this book. The first of two discs broken my heart. The second was able to repair it.
Molly Titera
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 8-10-years-old
This was a great read with the kids because it brought up topics and ideas that I was glad to discuss with the kids. It inspired them to write and write letters; record thoughts and ideas. Make yourself vulnerable in writing.
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-claire
I find it so interesting and also rare that there are books about children dealing with divorce. This book holds up over time and it made both of us go from laughing one second to being a bit sad the next.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of my favorites from childhood, and it hasn't lost the magic. ...more
Jordan Henrichs
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Perfect book to teach inferring to young readers. Cleary says so much about Leigh without explicitly saying it in his early letters to Henshaw. The growth and change in him as the letters turn into a journal is evident to growing readers. Leigh's story is a sad one, but one many of my students can relate to even today, making the book somewhat timeless. ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok, this is a kids' book....but one of my fifth graders wanted me to read it so we could talk about it, and who could turn that down??

I love Beverly Cleary!

This is a GREAT book for kids who are going through divorce (because it doesn't affect just the parents). Heartfelt, realistic, easy to understand because Ms. Cleary wrote FOR kids, not TO kids.
Andy Hyomin
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Its a story represented by a letter and the main character is sending letters to his favorite author
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery
There are good things in this book: The child's love for books, his interest in becoming a writer when he grows up. But I found him a bit annoying and repetitive. The way he wrote at the start was maybe too childish, then he matures a bit too fast. ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
not as good as diary of a wimpy kid. but I still liked it
Drew Graham
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: me
Get to know Leigh Botts, first through his letters to an author he admires, and then through letters to himself in his journal. It's not easy getting through sixth grade in a new school while also dealing with divorced parents, but Leigh's correspondence with Mr. Henshaw helps him cope with changes in his life and alternating disappointments and triumphs.

I've been trying to remember when I first read this book. I think I must have been in grade school, and although I can't remember exactly wheth
I picked this book up because I recently read some author's bio and he/ she said this book was influential in their lives. Unfortunately, I don't remember who the author was or the particular significance. A sweet story but not life-changing for me.

The premise is a school-aged boy writes to his favorite author. He also keeps a diary, with his thoughts written in the form of more letters to the author, Mr. Henshaw. Henshaw's role in all this is fairly minimal. Most of the meat of the story is wh
Sep 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery
I thought this was so good. I'd tried to read it as a kid and got maybe halfway through--it's that thing about not liking books about boys, and I remember that I also didn't want to read about a kid whose parents were divorced, which seemed strange and unhappy to me. But reading it now, I thought it was very sweet and honest and funny. At one point I almost cried.

I've been trying to put my finger on why I can't give this five stars--I think maybe because Leigh seems too self-aware sometimes, in
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Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) was the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many of us face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humour. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice ("Beezus"), Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.

Beverly Cleary was born Beverly A

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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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“I am sort of medium...I guess you could call me the mediumest boy in the class. -Leigh Botts” 6 likes
“This morning the sun was shining, so Barry and I mailed my letter to Mr. Henshaw and then walked over to see if there were still any butterflies in the grove. We only saw three or four, so I guess most of them have gone north for the summer. Then we walked down to the little park at Lovers Point and sat on a rock watching sailboats on the bay for a while. When clouds began to blow in we walked back to my house.” 2 likes
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