The Ramona Quimby Diary

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Ramona helps guide her fans through the year with this perfect beginning diary. Filled with funny quotes and illustrations from all the Ramona books, it includes stickers, easy-to-fill-in sections, room for photos and drawings, and even a secret code.

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Ramona helps guide her fans through the year with this perfect beginning diary. Filled with funny quotes and illustrations from all the Ramona books, it includes stickers, easy-to-fill-in sections, room for photos and drawings, and even a secret code.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688038830
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1984
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.07 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most popular authors. Born in McMinnville, Oregon, she lived on a farm in Yamhill until she was six and then moved to Portland. After college, as the children's librarian in Yakima, Washington, she was challenged to find stories for non-readers. She wrote her first book, Henry Huggins, inresponse to a boy's question, "Where are the books about kids like us?"

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the Amercan Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature.

Her Dear Mr. Henshaw was awarded the 1984 John Newbery Medal, and both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. In addition, her books have won more than thirty-five statewide awards based on the votes of her young readers. Her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. Mrs. Cleary lives in coastal California.


Beverly Cleary was inadvertently doing market research for her books before she wrote them, as a young children’s librarian in Yakima, Washington. Cleary heard a lot about what kids were and weren’t responding to in literature, and she thought of her library patrons when she later sat down to write her first book.

Henry Huggins, published in 1950, was an effort to represent kids like the ones in Yakima and like the ones in her childhood neighborhood in Oregon. The bunch from Klickitat Street live in modest houses in a quiet neighborhood, but they’re busy: busy with rambunctious dogs (one Ribsy, to be precise), paper routes, robot building, school, bicycle acquisitions, and other projects. Cleary was particularly sensitive to the boys from her library days who complained that they could find nothing of interest to read – and Ralph and the Motorcycle was inspired by her son, who in fourth grade said he wanted to read about motorcycles. Fifteen years after her Henry books, Cleary would concoct the delightful story of a boy who teaches Ralph to ride his red toy motorcycle.

Cleary’s best known character, however, is a girl: Ramona Quimby, the sometimes difficult but always entertaining little sister whom Cleary follows from kindergarten to fourth grade in a series of books. Ramona is a Henry Huggins neighbor who, with her sister, got her first proper introduction in Beezus and Ramona, adding a dimension of sibling dynamics to the adventures on Klickitat Street. Cleary’s stories, so simple and so true, deftly portrayed the exasperation and exuberance of being a kid. Finally, an author seemed to understand perfectly about bossy/pesty siblings, unfair teachers, playmate politics, the joys of clubhouses and the perils of sub-mattress monsters.

Cleary is one of the rare children’s authors who has been able to engage both boys and girls on their own terms, mostly through either Henry Huggins or Ramona and Beezus. She has not limited herself to those characters, though. In 1983, she won the Newbery Medal with Dear Mr. Henshaw, the story of a boy coping with his parents’ divorce, as told through his journal entries and correspondence with his favorite author. She has also written a few books for older girls (Fifteen, The Luckiest Girl, Sister of the Bride, and Jean and Johnny) mostly focusing on first love and family relationships. A set of books for beginning readers stars four-year-old twins Jimmy and Janet.

Some of Cleary’s books – particularly her titles for young adults – may seem somewhat alien to kids whose daily lives don’t feature soda fountains, bottles of ink, or even learning cursive. Still, the author’s stories and characters stand the test of time; and she nails the basic concerns of childhood and adolescence. Her books (particularly the more modern Ramona series, which touches on the repercussions of a father’s job loss and a mother’s return to work) remain relevant classics.

Cleary has said in an essay that she wrote her two autobiographical books, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, "because I wanted to tell young readers what life was like in safer, simpler, less-prosperous times, so different from today." She has conveyed that safer, simpler era -- still fraught with its own timeless concerns -- to children in her fiction as well, more than half a century after her first books were released.

Good To Know

Word processing is not Cleary's style. She writes, "I write in longhand on yellow legal pads. Some pages turn out right the first time (hooray!), some pages I revise once or twice and some I revise half-a-dozen times. I then attack my enemy the typewriter and produce a badly typed manuscript which I take to a typist whose fingers somehow hit the right keys. No, I do not use a computer. Everybody asks."

Cleary usually starts her books on January 2.

Up until she was six, Cleary lived in Yamhill, Oregon -- a town so small it had no library. Cleary's mother took up the job of librarian, asking for books to be sent from the state branch and lending them out from a lodge room over a bank. It was, Clearly remembers, "a dingy room filled with shabby leather-covered chairs and smelling of stale cigar smoke. The books were shelved in a donated china cabinet. It was there I made the most magical discovery: There were books written especially for children!"

Cleary authored a series of tie-in books in the early 1960s for classic TV show Leave It to Beaver.

Cleary's books appear in over 20 countries in 14 languages.

Cleary's book The Luckiest Girl is based in part on her own young adulthood, when a cousin of her mother's offered to take Beverly for the summer and have her attend Chaffey Junior College in Ontario, California. Cleary went from there to the University of California at Berkeley.

The actress Sarah Polley got her start playing Ramona in the late ‘80s TV series. Says Cleary in a Q & A on her web site: “I won’t let go of the rights for television productions unless I have script approval. There have been companies that have wanted the movie rights to Ramona, but they won’t let me have script approval, and so I say no. I did have script approval for the television productions of the Ramona series…. I thought Sarah Polley was a good little actress, a real little professional.”

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    1. Also Known As:
      Beverly Atlee Bunn (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Carmel, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1916
    2. Place of Birth:
      McMinnville, Oregon
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

Read an Excerpt

Mrs. Quimby's Diary

One rainy Saturday afternoon, Ramona Quimby and her big sister Beezus heard their mother laughing in the hall. Because the hall seemed a strange place for laughing, they investigated and found Mrs. Quimby, surrounded by boxes, sitting on the floor in front of the open linen closet. She was reading a book about the size of a postcard.

"What's so funny?" The sisters wanted to share the fun, whatever it was.

"I was cleaning out the mess in the linen closet when I ran across the diary I kept when I was about Ramona's age." Mrs. Quimby turned a page and laughed again.

"Oh, Mother, let us read it," pleaded Beezus.

"Diaries are supposed to be private," said Mrs. Quimby, "so you can write down your secret thoughts as well as things that happened."

"Oh, please," begged Ramona. "Pretty please with sugar on it."

"We'll all read it." Mrs. Quimby rose from the floor and stepped over boxes.

"Daddy!" Ramona called to her father, who was replacing faucet washers in the bathroom. "Come quick! Mother's going to read her diary."

The girls settled themselves on either side of their mother on the living room couch. Mr. Quimby, who remarked that a diary was sure to be more interesting than faucet washers, sat in his usual chair.

Mrs. Quimby opened the little book, which had three dates on each page with three lines for each date. Her third-grade school picture was pasted inside the front cover.

"Mother!" Ramona was filled with glee. "You didn't comb your hair." She would remember this and remind her mother when she was told to comb her own hair.

"'January first,'" read Mrs. Quimby. "'Today itrained. We had chicken for dinner.'"

"That's not very exciting." Ramona was disappointed.

"It gets better later on," her mother told her. "Besides, three lines a day didn't leave much room for excitement. 'January second. No school. I read a Little House book. I liked it very muck.'"

"Muck!" The girls, reading along with their mother, found her spelling hilarious. "I can spell better than that," boasted Ramona.

I used to mix up h and k. " Mrs. Quimby read on. "'January third. I went over to Linda's house after school. Green is our favert color and whipped dream our favert food. We hate turnips. We are best friends.'" She had written small, to squeeze all this on the three lines allowed for each date.

"F-a-v-e-r-t for favorite," said Beezus. "You were a terrible speller."

"I improved with age," said Mrs. Quimby. "After all, what you say in a diary is more important than how you spell it--not that you shouldn't try to spell correctly. 'January fourth. Linda came over to my house. We blew bubbles.'"

"You got 'blew' right," remarked Ramona. "You could have spelled it like the color."

"'January fifth,'" read Mrs. Quimby. "'Bobby J. bit my eraser in two.'"

"Keep your eye on Bobby J.," remarked Mr. Quimby. "Biting a girl's eraser in two is a sure sign of love. "

"Oh, Daddy," Ramona giggled. "It is not."

Mrs. Quimby continued. "'January sixth. Linda and I both had egg sandwiches in our lunches. Linda had a jelly doenut. She gave it to Bobby J. I wish I could have jelly doenuts in my lunch.'"

"Poor Mom," said Beezus, and giggled.

"'January seventh. Sadderday. I had to go shopping with Mother. I was bored. I hate shopping.'"

"So do I," said Ramona.

"I like the way you spelled Saturday," said Beezus. "Saturday is a day when something nice should happen. When it doesn't, it seems like a sadder day."

"Today isn't a sadder day," said Ramona. "Mother's diary is happening."

Mrs. Quimby went on. "'January eighth. Nothing happened. January ninth. Linda gave Bobby J. another jelly doenut. Bobby J. printed a big Lon his hand. Linda and I aren't best friends anymore.'"

"Why weren't you and Linda best friends anymore?" asked Ramona.

"Because I wanted my initial on Bobby J.'s hand, and all I had to offer were carrot sticks," her mother explained.

"That was before your mother met me," said Mr. Quimby.

"Daddy, she was just a little girl." All the same, Ramona was indignant. "I don't think Bobby J. was very nice. Besides, carrot sticks are better for you than jelly doughnuts."

After the entries about Linda and Bobby J., "Nothing happened" was recorded day after day. Then in March, printed across the lines for three days, were the words, "Bea! You Keep Out!"

"Did Aunt Bea really snoop in your diary?" asked Beezus.

"I don't think so," answered Mrs. Quimby. "I was just trying to fill up space. Or maybe I was mad at her about something else."

"Then you should have written it down so you would know," said Ramona.

On her birthday, Mrs. Quimby had listed her presents. In July, her mosquito bites itched. In August, she wrote about going on a family picnic, falling in a stream, and having to sit in the car wrapped in a blanket until her clothes dried. "'I was mad,'" Mrs. Quimby read. "'Everybody laughed at me. Bea laughed, too. I am mad at Bea.'"That entry had taken space meant for three days. "I had to let off steam," explained Mrs. Quimby. "Diaries are good for that." Her Christmas presents filled up December 25, 26, and 27. That was all.

"But Mother, something more must have happened to you that year," said Beezus. "Why didn't you write it down?"

"It was hard for me to write small enough to fit such little lines, and the diary wouldn't open flat for easy writing," explained Mrs. Quimby. "And I didn't know that someday I would have children who would be interested.

The Ramona Quimby Diary. Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2001


    I actually had the first edition of this diary. I was about ten when I first recieved the book and every day I couldn't wait to get home to write in it using my 'secret' codes.There were so many activities to help even the youngest journalist put her thoughts to paper,it also included passages from some of the Ramona books. I found my diary in a box after I was married,and to re-live all my little crushes and not to mention seeing my less than perfect spelling and terrible handwriting. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

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