There’s no doubt that Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is massively popular. Keeping the books on library shelves can be a huge challenge, and it’s always tough when we (the library staff) have to tell eager kids that the book in the series they’re seeking isn’t currently available. Fortunately, there are a number of similar series that I keep in my back pocket for just such occasions. If you’ve got a kid who loves Greg Heffley’s wimpy kid antics, consider suggesting they try one of these series, too. These books mark the first in their respective series, but there are plenty more to find beyond the introductory novel.
Remember many of these books are available not only in print and CD, but also as ebooks and audiobooks through OverDrive.
Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell, illustrated by Rachel Renée Russell
Eighth grader Nikki is just your average middle schooler -- she’s got friend drama, parent drama and crush drama. Follow along with her hilarious and illustrated adventures in her journal, where -- in this first book of the series -- she describes coming up against the school bully in an art contest, dealing with her annoying little sister, and jonesing for an iPhone.
I Funny: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Laura Park
Determined to sharpen his standup comedy skills, middle schooler Jamie prepares himself to enter an upcoming comedy contest for kids. In zany illustrations, Jamie makes his way through the world with the help of his wheelchair and encounters some folks who think any of his success could be attributed to his disability and a pity vote -- while others bully him for the fun of it.
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian, illustrated by Jake Tashjian
An avid prankster and fun-lover, David is about to meet the end of amusement. This summer, he’s headed to Learning Camp, where entertainment goes to die. Tasked with reading what his mother calls “real books,” Derek might find more than he expects throughout the school break. From new friendships to a shocking family secret, maybe “boring” isn’t quite the word for these few months.
The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by L. Pichon, illustrated by L. Pichon
Described as the “British cousin to Jeff Kinney’s Greg Heffley [from Diary of a Wimpy Kid]” by Publishers Weekly, The Brilliant World of Tom Gates introduces readers to the fifth-grade title character and his diary. Plagued by an older sister, maniacal dogs, and a crush that’s got a tight grip on him, Tom now also has his grades to worry about, despite a stellar writing ability.
Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat, illustrated by Booki Vivat
Dealing with middle school and all the troubles that come with it is enough, but Abbie Wu has even more on her mind, as every little inconvenience feels like the end of the world! As she tries to manage the ins and outs of life as an adolescent, Abbie discovers that her anxiety is holding her back in a major way. Pushed to action by a school food policy, Abbie must overcome her anxiety to make real change.
Dear Dumb Diary: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jim Benton
Like many middle school students, Jamie has enough on her plate, but that doesn’t stop her enemy from making her life harder. Angeline may be beautiful and perfect, but Jamie has something she doesn’t -- or, does she? Being selectively honest in her journal, Jamie reveals the events of a visit from her cousin alongside her war with Angeline and other trials of adolescent life.