Do It Yourself Programming Ideas:
Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona Quimby” has been a beloved children’s book character for generations; her books are read by both boys and girls as soon as they move up for easy readers. Here are some fun ideas you can offer for a library program to celebrate Ramona; this would be great any time of year, or for National Library Week in April. Cleary’s birthday also takes place in April! Special thanks to Julieanne Randolph from Orinda; many of these ideas came from her and I have added others.
Fill out the simple quiz “Are you a Beezus or a Ramona?” available from HarperCollins (page 5): www.beverlycleary.com/docs/ramonaeventkit.pdf . This pdf contains several other fun activities including a crossword puzzle, door hanger, and fortune teller.
Gray Duck: Also known as Duck, Duck, Goose, Ramona played this in Ramona the Pest. Here are instructions: https://childhood101.com/games-for-kids-how-to-play-duck-duck-goose/.
Tin Can Stilts: Have volunteers make the tin can stilts ahead of time, using these instructions: https://babbledabbledo.com/tin-can-stilts/ . Then, have individual participants use the stilts to walk a path and time it (not a race, which could be dangerous). Then, see who has the fastest times for each age group.
String Spinners: Make these simple string spinners, which are the type of toy Beverly Cleary would have played with as a kid: www.housingaforest.com/homemade-toys-button-spinner/.
Board Games: As described in her memoir Girl from Yamhill, Beverly Cleary played Old Maid, Parcheesi, Uncle Wiggly, and Lotto as a kid. Have a station with these classic games.
Longest Drawing Ever: Inspired by an episode in Ramona and Her Father, set up long pieces of bulletin board paper for parents and kids to collaborate on a drawing. Save this for a bulletin board display!
Bubbles: In Ramona’s World, Ramona and Daisy pop bubble wrap. Kids can make bubble solution and blow bubbles (less noisy than popping bubble wrap!). Here is a recipe for making bubble solution: https://teachingmama.org/really-neat-ways-to-blow-bubbles/.
Mask Making: In Ramona and Her Mother, Ramona makes a cat mask. Kids can make animal makes using templates from this website: www.firstpalette.com/tool_box/printables/masquerade2.pdf .
Paper Bag Owls: Inspired by Parent’s Night in Ramona the Brave, make these simple owl puppets: www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mbagowl.htm .
If you would like this to be an all-day event, conclude with a movie showing of “Ramona and Beezus” for those who want to stay: www.imdb.com/title/tt0493949/?ref_=nv_sr_1. Be sure you have a movie license: http://library.mplc.org/ .
Display all of Cleary’s books, including the “Ramona” series, her memoirs, and her picture books. Also display or promote DVDs or films based on her books.
Offer juice boxes, carrots, and popcorn for a snack.
Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool