Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a popular book series for kids, written by Jeff Kinney, that has spawned several box office hits with readers. The fun books, written in an easy-going style as title character Greg Heffley's personal journal, are good choices if you want to get kids excited about reading. The series made National Public Radio's list of top 100 picks for kids ages 9-14 in 2013.
Wimpy Kid Books
Diary of a Wimpy Kid books come in two forms - the original series plus a couple of companion books for additional adventures with Greg and his friends and family.
Eight titles are currently in the Wimpy Kid series, with a ninth slated to debut in November 2014. Each book is published like an actual diary, with text that looks like handwriting and stick figure sketches as illustrations.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The first book in the series introduces middle child Greg Hefferley as he is about to begin middle school. When his best friend Rowley ends up more popular than Greg, he ends up embarking upon a series of events that challenges the two friends.
- Rodrick Rules: Greg's older brother Rodrick knows a very important secret about what happened to Greg over summer break - a secret Greg wants to keep as the new school year starts, in the second book.
- The Last Straw: In book three, The Last Straw, readers join Greg as his father attempts to "toughen" Greg up through various sporting activities. Greg tries his best under the threat of being sent to military school.
- Dog Days: It's summer once again and Greg's mom wants to create a fun family adventure in the hilarious fourth book.
- The Ugly Truth: Uncomfortable challenges of growing up are the basis for The Ugly Truth, the fifth book in the series. Greg strives to figure out how to handle himself with girls, responsibilities, and more throughout this book.
- Cabin Fever: Book six, Cabin Fever, focuses on Greg's culpability in school vandalism as an impending blizzard comes around in time for the holiday break.
- The Third Wheel: An upcoming dance is stressing Greg out. Find out whether he ends up with a partner or as the third wheel in the seventh Wimpy Kid book.
- Hard Luck: Greg's friend Rowley deserts him in the eighth installment of the series, so Greg decides to let chance dictate how his year and friendships go.
Companion Books and Materials
Kinney wrote a companion book, The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book, a journal that allows kids to express their own thoughts and feelings, with guidance from the author, similar to main character Greg. The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary: How Greg Heffley Went Hollywood, takes children behind the scenes of the three popular movies. A school planner is also available for order. Additional merchandise, like games, shirts, figurines, and more can also be purchased for die-hard fans of the books.
Awards and Acclaim
The series has created quite a stir since the first book debuted. Notable acclaims for the titles include:
- The series ranks at #5 on The New York Times Bestsellers list for Children's Series as of April 13, 2014, despite the first book's publication being seven years prior, and has been on the list for 271 consecutive weeks.
- Author Jeff Kinney made the TIME list of 100 Influential People in the Arts & Entertainment category in 2009.
- Cabin Fever, the sixth book, beat out both The Hunger Games and Steve Jobs: A Biography, to top USA Today's holiday seller list in 2011.
- The series took home the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite Book in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
- Jeff Kinney won the Children's Choice Award for Author of the Year in 2012 for Cabin Fever.
Wimpy Kid Movies
Three of the books have been made into movies. All three movies starred Zachary Gordon as title character Greg and followed the plot lines of the books of the same name. Movies made include Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules, and Dog Days. The combined box office totals for the three movies is over $165,000,000.
Jeff Kinney Author Information
Author of the series Jeff Kinney came up with the Wimpy Kid idea in 1998, although the first book wasn't published until 2007. He attended the University of Maryland and first published his ideas for the series on Funbrain.com before turning them into the first book. He originally wanted to be a cartoonist. Today he is married and lives in Massachusetts with his wife and children.
Real Life or Fictional Account?
Readers often want to know whether Diary of a Wimpy Kid was based on author Jeff Kinney's real life experience. In an interview with The Guardian in 2012, Kinney said that "in a way, all the experiences are somehow related to my own childhood and I would say that the DNA of my childhood appears in these books." Although a middle child like the character Greg, Kinney did not mention any specific scenes directly inspired from his childhood that made it into the books.
Test Your Wimpy Knowledge
Once you've read all the books and seen the movies, it's fun to test your knowledge by taking a Diary of a Wimpy Kid trivia quiz to see how much you know about Greg, his family, his friends, and his adventures.