Get to Know the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ Books


Who knew when the first “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book by Jeff Kinney was published in 2007 that by spring 2014 there would be more than 120 million Wimpy Kid books in print worldwide? What is it that has made the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and related books so popular?

In part, it’s the format of the books. The design appeals to young readers, from upper elementary to middle school age, even reluctant readers. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” appears to be the handwritten diary, on lined paper with spot cartoon illustrations on every page, of Greg Haffley, who’s in middle school. What makes it work is how true to life and humorous (and wacky) Greg’s thought process and actions are.

If your kids love the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, they may also enjoy “The Origami Yoda” series by Tom Angleberger, beginning with “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda” by Stephan Pastis, and the “Star Wars: Jedi Academy” series.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid” takes a humorous look at school and family life as told in the form of an illustrated journal by the main character, Greg Heffley (the Wimpy Kid) who has just started middle school.

The Last Straw

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In Jeff Kinney’s third book, the focus is less on Greg’s skirmishes with his older brother, Rodrick, and much more on his skirmishes with his father and his growing interest in girls.

The Third Wheel

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It’s January and middle schooler Greg Haffley has decided that it’s a shame he didn’t start writing about himself earlier because whoever writes his biography will need to know about his early life. To rectify that, Greg starts his diary with a 20-page description of his early life, beginning when he was in utero, with a lot of funny spot cartoon illustrations.

However, the bulk of the book is about Greg’s efforts to get a date for the school dance and all of the things that go wrong both before and during the dance.

Hard Luck

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Middle school is not much fun since Greg has been dumped by his best friend, Rowley. What’s worse is that Greg’s been dumped because Rowley has a girlfriend. Now Greg has to cope with bullies on his own during the walk to and from school. He’s also having trouble making new friends. Things aren’t better at home. Greg’s not happy about Easter at Gramma’s because of past experiences.

However, Greg finds something he thinks will improve his life. Since Greg hasn’t had any luck in making decisions that make his life better, he’s delighted to find a Magic 8 ball and decides to let it make decisions for him. That works out so badly that Greg may have to go to summer school. Fortunately, Greg rallies with some good decisions and hard work. Best of all, Rowley’s girlfriend breaks up with him and by the end of the school year, Greg and Rowley are friends again.

Old School

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“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School” is very enjoyable recreational reading that younger kids will particularly like. Wimpy Kid Greg Heffley has a lot to complain about. This might be annoying, except for the fact that the things that bother him are so amusingly presented in both Greg’s words and pictures.

Greg’s sick of grown-ups talking about the “good old days,” his mother is embarrassing him by collecting signatures on a petition to get the city to “unplug” for a weekend, the family has a pet pig that his mom has taught to do tricks and that’s allowed to eat at the dinner table, and his grandfather has moved in, which is having a bad effect on his father’s mood. According to Greg, “You can tell he doesn’t really approve of the way Mom and Dad are raising us kids, even though he never actually comes out and SAYS it.”

Problems escalate to the point that Greg agrees to go on a week-long class field trip to Hard Scrabble Farms to avoid a confrontation with his father. Things are straightened out in a surprising and funny way when his dad becomes a mid-trip replacement field trip chaperone. 

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School,” Book 10 of the series, is a quick and fun read, and Greg’s shenanigans will delight younger readers.

The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book

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The “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself Book” was such a success that Jeff Kinney created another DIY book for kids who want to do their own writing and comic sketches. What’s the difference between the two books? While “The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book” is being promoted as a revised and expanded version of the first journal, there is a lot that is different, starting with the cover and title.


“About the Author.” Wimpy Kid, Inc., 2021.

Kinney, Jeff. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 12 Books Complete Collection Set.” Paperback, Puffin, 2021.

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