"I'm reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the first one, for the 13th time, Mom," exclaims my 8-year-old. He checks it out at the school library often. He's read as many of the books in this series as possible, too. He loves them. And, the #1 New York Times bestselling author and four-time Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award winner for Favorite Book, Jeff Kinney, releases a new and different story this month. Oh, and did you know he's also the creator of Poptropica, a fun website for kids? One my son plays, too.
A NEW BOOK, A NEW PERSPECTIVE
Greg Heffley has been chronicling his middle-school years in 13 Diary of a Wimpy Kid journals. Now, it's time for Rowley Jefferson, Greg's best friend, to tell his own story. That's what Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal is all about. "It's a new point of view," says Kinney. "I found it refreshing to write in that style, too."
This book tells the story of Rowley and how he became friends with Greg. The book keeps the same comic-like format as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, too. So, kids will love it just the same. While this first book references the first book of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Kinney's not positive it will happen like that again.
Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid shows a different side to the story kids know and love. One that many parents and kids can relate to. How much the two friends don't get along, yet they're still best friends. Sometimes, of which, Rowley's parents don't approve of. It's a fun new way to look at how two kids become friends and the trials and triumphs they go through ... all while in middle school. Part of the hardest years kids go through.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
We chatted with Kinney to learn more about what started the series. Kinney's favorite book growing up was Tales from a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. "I could see myself as those characters," says Kinney. "However, I was a cartoonist before I wrote my first book," he adds. That first book ... Diary of a Wimpy Kid, published in 2007. He says it and Blume's book kind of relate.
But, before publishing, Kinney says, "I spent eight to nine years writing the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid before I would even show it to anyone!" That's a long time to perfect the first book, but it shows.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid books can now be found in 70 editions and in 59 languages. More than 200 million copies of the books in the series reportedly have been sold internationally. Kinney's first book was an instant bestseller and remains on the New York Times bestseller list since its publication. And, with the release of the 13th book, it's been on top for more than 655 weeks total.
While Kinney is not yet set on a second book for Rowley, he's already thinking about it. "I want to write stories the readers want," he says. He does hope to keep the two books going and feeding off each other though. Don't worry, this new book doesn't mean it's the end of Greg's stories. The 14th installment of Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes out Nov. 5, 2019.