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If you want to know how beautifully conceived Ramona is as a character, start by reading a Junie B Jones story. We are supposed to accept Junie B as an "empowered" girl, but the fact is that she is written as a smug and self- centerred character. We are supposed to admire her unthinking belief in herself, I guess, but the fact is that I simply would not want her in my life. In my opinion, Junie B is not much more than a flat and poorly thpught through character designed to market to a superficial idea of feminine empowerment.
Ramona, on the other hand, is a masterful depiction of a real, admirable and thinking little girl. Sometimes she is brash, exuberant and self-centerred. But when confronted with the consequences of her behavior, she is introspective and learning. Cleary had (has? I don't know if she's still living) a sure grasp of a child's sense of self as she's embedded in a web of relations- in a loving family facing challenges, and navigating among kind and indifferent adults and peers at school.
Ramona is real. She is confronted by the social and emotional challenges of growing up, and in so many ways she responds with simple, childish integrity. To the degree that her gender imposes constraints, I bet thousands and thousands of little girls have learned health and freedom from her in ways that an easy, superficial appeal like Junie B can't even conceive. But I have boys and I read Ramona with them. And I hope that they also have learned something of integrity and freedom from her.
Btw- I'm reviewing the Spanish translation here because I have my third graders in a Spanish immersion program. On top of everything else, if you can read this with them in Spanish, the book will deepen the kids in the language.
I bought this to teach Spanish to the Mrs. at home, and she was already familiar with the English version so this helped teach her become familiar with words. This also helped me with juggling two languages in the household.
I bought this to give to a Spanish-speaking, 9 year old girl who enjoys reading, and she seemed to like it! I loved the original English version in my own youth and wanted to share the story with my young friend.