Flashback Friday: “Ramona Quimby, Age 8”

Jailene Adorno ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Ramona Quimby, probably one of the most beloved protagonists in children’s books, is a force to be reckoned with. When Beverly Cleary introduced the world to the infamous Ramona, she had no idea what kind of impact she would have on readers for years and years to come. Not only is Ramona Quimby, Age 8 a childhood favorite for many, but in 1982, it was also named a Newbery Honor book. Even if you haven’t read a book about Ramona Quimby, you’re sure to have heard her name.

"Ramona Quimby, Age 8" Cover. Source: William Morrow
“Ramona Quimby, Age 8” Cover. Source: William Morrow

In this Cleary classic, readers get to learn all about how Ramona’s father is going back to college and how because of this, her mother has to go back to work in order to provide for the family. Since her mother won’t be able to watch her after school, Ramona has the pleasure of staying with Mrs. Kemp during the afternoons. On top of all of this, Ramona has also just changed schools due to the reorganization of neighborhoods in her town. However, the change of schools was something that she was actually excited about—that is, until havoc runs amok on her first day.

Now if that doesn’t sound like a lot of different things to handle all at once, nothing will. The book is about more than just change, though; it also deals with the expectations that Ramona’s parents have for her now that she’s getting older. Right in the title, we learn that Ramona is eight years old, and while that may not seem very old, kids at that age are expected to be a bit more aware of certain things and to help out their parents when need be. Therefore, while all of these changes are occurring, Ramona is expected to be on her very best behavior—no mischief, no nonsense.

Ramona is just your average, misunderstood third grader, but she has a lot on her plate and readers will get to experience that firsthand with all of the different things going on around her. We truly get to see the good, bad, and ugly—from making new friends to embarrassing herself in front of them. She’s a very complex character, but it’s so much fun learning about Ramona and her many sides, such as her love for simple pleasures like being able to read during the school day.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8, along with the rest of Cleary’s Ramona books, are great for children of all ages. They take readers on an unforgettable journey with a really fun character like Ramona, and they also teach you valuable lessons about appreciating the people around you and making the most of every situation.

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