So you read this funny, heartwarming story by legend Beverly Cleary, and now you’re on the hunt for books like Ramona Quimby, Age 8? Welcome!
Recommending readalikes can be a tricky process, but as I said in the first post in this series, I enjoy the process of finding similar threads running through even books that appear different on the surface. Today’s pick is Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby, Age 8, which is part of the Ramona series. I loved this book, and the movie adaptation of Ramona and Beezus, with Joey King and Selena Gomez (which was my introduction to the series).
Here’s my readalike criterion: Each book I recommend must have at least three strong similarities with the beloved title. For this post, though, I’ve chosen young, spunky female protagonists with big-ish families and school and home drama akin to Ramona’s struggles. These heroines are also between ages 7-9, so close to Ramona’s age. I won’t be highlighting similarities and differences. Instead, I’ll write a short note about each pick. It makes me happy to have found 10 other spunky heroines from a variety of diverse ethnicities in contemporary settings. If you or your kids loved this book, here are more books like Ramona Quimby, Age 8.
Ready? Let’s go.
Books Like Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Ways to Make Sunshine
Ryan Hart is about the same age as Ramona and just as spunky! The main difference is that Ryan is Black and deals with many more current issues than Ramona did. Her family is also struggling financially (and expecting a new baby), but Ryan learns plenty about Black hair, religion, and friendships, as well as handling her relationship with her annoying older brother.
Stella Diaz Has Something to Say
I love Stella Diaz! She’s sweet, smart, and curious. Stella is also obsessed with marine life, bilingual, and lives with her mother and older brother since her parents are divorced. She struggles in similar ways to Ramona, but finally learns that even though she sometimes mixes up her English and Spanish words, her voice matters still.
Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen
Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is determined to pound mochi even if her family says it’s something only the boys can/should do. She’s jealous that her older sister gets to do everything before her, and she wants things to be different this time. This series is absolutely delightful and a sweet peek into Japanese culture too.
Cilla Lee Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire
Cilla Lee Jenkins is a biracial Asian-American who wants to be an author someday. She’s also like Ramona — deep thinking, outspoken, and dealing with her own challenges at school, one of which is reading. Cilla learns that she isn’t just “half and half” and she also prepares to welcome a little sister of her own.
Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business
This is such a sweet series! Mindy’s mom died when she was a much younger and now she and her father have moved to a new city. At her new school, Mindy is desperate to make new friends, and unwittingly falls into entrepreneurship — selling seaweed snacks which all the kids love.
I have not read this series, but Clementine’s life sounds a lot like Ramona’s just from the publisher’s synopsis!
Clementine is NOT having a good week.
On Monday she’s sent to the principal’s office for cutting off Margaret’s hair. On Tuesday, Margaret’s mother is mad at her. On Wednesday, she’s sent to the principal, again. On Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her. Then Friday starts with yucky eggs and only gets worse. And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her.
Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week. But maybe can she find a way to make it better.
Lola Levine Is Not Mean
I love Lola Levine! She’s a lot like Ramona with her big heart and lovable spirit, but she feels pretty misunderstood when she unintentionally injures a classmate while playing soccer. I love this series, and also Lola is half Jewish and half Latino!
Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker
Upside down thinker, Beatrice Zinker is thrown for a loop when her best friend shows up with a new friend. This is another of the books like Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Beatrice is also in third grade, has two siblings and a supportive family. Hand this to any out of the box thinkers who enjoyed Ramona.
Too Small Tola
This book is out in March from Candlewick Press, but I read an ARC and adored it. It’s set in Lagos, Nigeria and follows young Tola who gets picked on by her older siblings because she’s so small. But in three different stories (all in this book) Tola proves that she’s small but mighty.
Meena Meets Her Match
Meena is a vibrant, colorful girl, but when she runs into a health issue, her life isn’t quite the same anymore. I haven’t read this one but so many in my network have read and loved it!
Your turn! Which books like Ramona Quimby, Age 8 would you recommend and why? I’d love to hear from you. Also, I would love your help with this series. Which middle-grade, chapter books, or picture books, or even YA books would you love readalikes for? Let me know!