Ramona Quimby is getting her day in the sun thanks to a certain movie in theaters right now (if you haven't at least seen trailers for Ramona and Beezus yet, where are you living?), and she deserves it.
If you've got a kid struggling with growing up, you can't steer them wrong with a pile of Beverly Cleary books -- which follow the spunky "real" girl from pest-hood on up through the fourth grade.
So what happens when they're done with Ramona? They can continue growing up with book in hand:
1. The Winnie Years by Lauren Myracle. Starting with Eleven six years ago, Myracle picked up where Ramona left off with Winnie, a tween (and now teen) who is struggling to figure out who she is and who the world wants her to be -- with results that are the perfect mix of light and heavy. Start with the first one and build their way up to Thirteen Plus One.
2. Fudge books by Judy Blume. Sheila Tubman's a bit of a know-it-all. Couple that with a bratty little brother sworn enemy with a bratty little brother (Fudge), and growing up is a challenge of epic proportions.
3. Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty. From Sloppy Firsts through Perfect Fifths, Darling's life is split up into hearty helpings of teenagehood and early adult years. She steps beyond angst into a world of discovery.
4. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares. Like what Ramona now has to contend with, the movie versions of this coming of age series have overshadowed the power of four girls and their adventure into adulthood. But the written word is where it's at when it comes to tackling first love, first loss, and how to balance childhood friends with adult dreams.