Reading with Ramona
It has been more decades than I would like to admit, but I can still remember the first time I met Ramona Quimby. She wasn't just another princess in a fairy tale or a character in a rhyming book. She was real. She was someone I could imagine playing with and laughing with and talking to as if she were sitting next to me at the lunch table or on the school bus.
While I would say that I always loved reading, Beverly Cleary's books are truly the first books that I can recall reading on my own. They are not the Dr. Seuss rhymes I memorized. Nor are they the readers I sped through in the classroom. Ramona Quimby's stories were books that I savored and devoured at the same time.
There was something different about the world Beverly Cleary created with her words. Something palpable. They were something more than anything I had ever read before. Something I hope every child finds.