When Ramona and Her Father was written in 1977, the US was suffering from economic recession and stagflation that kept prices high and unemployment rising. Perhaps it's not a surprise that the book is about Mr. Quimby losing his job and the family feeling the financial strain.
In the same decade, the anti-smoking movement started, coinciding with Mr. Quimby's newfound smoking habit due to stress and Ramona's attempt to get him off of it before he gets lung cancer.
Write What You Know: Beverly Cleary drew on many experiences from her own childhood for Ramona's experiences. For example, the family's struggles when Mr. Quimby is unemployed in Ramona and Her Father was drawn from the Cleary family's struggles during the Great Depression, the young Beverly misheard the words "dawn's early light" in "The Star-Spangled Banner" as "dawnzer lee light" just like Ramona does, and the incident in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 of Ramona thinking she overhears her teacher calling her a "nuisance" is a Lighter and Softer reimagining of a moment when eight-year-old Beverly's teacher really did call her a nuisance.
Trivia for the TV adaptation
Dawson Casting: Surprisingly averted. She's actually played by an 8-year-old, and the series is set in third grade.
Aunt Bea is played by Kirsten Bishop, best known for playing Zoicite in the first English dub of Sailor Moon.
Nerene Virgin, best known as Jodie on Today's Special, plays Ramona's school secretary, Mrs. Larson.
Race Lift: Susan, who is white in the books and the 2010 film adaptation, is black here.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Due to a combination of not being particularly well known and the distribution rights being passed around like a hot potato, the series has not been released on DVD. It can, however, be watched on YouTube.