I think that when a chapter book series is different and successful such that it creates its own mini-genre that this is only a good thing. Just like Harry Potter which broke publishing notions that kids won’t read very, very thick books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series also got kids wildly excited to read. And though the lead character is a boy, girls were also reading this series in droves.
I know because my oldest read this and liked it. Reluctant readers that I know stalked the local bookstore the first day a new book came out and bought a half-dozen books for friends who needed the book now. I was also on that list.
I also think that the graphics helped to legitimize graphic novels from comic book status to it-counts-for-your-reading-log status.
How about you? Once your kids read Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, what have they turned to that is similar to it? Please share!
Books Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid
10. Tales of a Sixth Grade Muppet by Kirk Scroggs
A reluctant reader that I know got this book for his birthday as it combined Diary of a Wimpy Kid, his favorite series, with his resurgent interest in the Muppets. The result: it was a “Drop Everything and Read” kind of book. I hope this becomes a series. I really enjoyed this book myself and I think it would be a great chapter book for boys. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
9. Click Here (to find out how i survived seventh grade) by Denise Vega
A” website” girl version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets How I Survived 6th Grade. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
“The blog segments and first-person narration are immediate and funny.” (Kirkus )
“Readers will relate to and sympathize with Erin’s dilemma.” (School Library Journal )
8. Stink series by Megan McDonald
Judy Moody’s pesky younger “bother” — encyclopedia in hand, zany schemes in mind, and comical comebacks at the ready — has totally come into his own with a compelling, kid-friendly early chapter book series. [chapter, ages 6 and up]
7. Ruby Lu series by Lenore Look
A female counterpart to Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho and/or an Asian American girl version of Dairy of a Wimpy Kid that skews young. A great early chapter book for girls! [middle grade, ages 7 and up]
6. Clarice Bean series by Lauren Child
We really like the Clarice Bean chapter book series and it’s great for girls who loved Charlie and Lola but have outgrown it. Lauren Child always seems to have quirky but lovable characters and Clarice Bean’s family certainly qualifies. This is the English Rose version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
5. Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce
Big Nate is a clever hybrid of graphic novel — cartoon strip style — with a traditional chapter book story. [middle grade graphic novel, ages 8 and up]
4. Ellie McDoodle series by Ruth McNally Barshaw
Our elementary school has a program where parents donate a book for their child’s birthday and new book is checked out for them for two weeks with a nameplate. My daughter got Ellie McDoodle Best Friends Fur-Ever. While this wasn’t a 4th grade chapter book for her, she would have liked it maybe in 3rd grade or late in 2nd grade. I, however, thoroughly enjoyed it.
Barshaw manages to write a fast-paced hybrid graphic novel/chapter book that even squeezes in science with art and even jokes! I was impressed with the range of information presented, like Achi, tic-tac-toe on steroids game from Ghana. (Ellie McDoodle’s words!). And, if you ever want to build a Geodesic Dome, there are instructions for that too! I’m really impressed with this series!
[graphic novel/chapter book hybrid, ages 7 and up]
3. Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look
An Asian American version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid that skews a bit younger. This early chapter book series is funny and great for boys. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
2. The Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell
A tween girl version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
1. Middle School The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
Though this book looks like it would be fairly fluffy, it actually houses a serious story amid all the cartoon graphics about a boy coping with a less than optimal stepfather and as well as the loss of a twin brother. I really liked it and I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised since we are HUGE James Patterson fans. A serious story version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
Books Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid Honorable Mentions
Amelia’s Notebook series by Marissa Moss
Amelia is a feisty and funny 9-year-old in the first book, Amelia’s Notebook, with a sense of humor that verges on sarcasm. This is a great easy chapter book for girls who like a graphic novel format. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]
Max’s Logbook by Marissa Moss
I like how this is a graphic novel that combines science. In this case, Max’s logbook is a science lab notebook for all kinds of experiments. My son will love this book! [graphic novel, ages 6 and up]
Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon
This is a clever chapter book/graphic novel hybrid. The graphic novel portion is diabolically clever at drawing in the reader and the short chapters of text are both funny and charming. A dragon version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. These are great chapter books for boys! [middle grade/graphic novel hybrid, ages 6 and up]
p.s. I found lots of great books that I wasn’t familiar with at Zoo-Wee Mama! from the Santa Clara Public Library titled If You Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, You May Also Like These!
p.p.s. If your child has an interest in creating his or her own graphic novel, these are great:
The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book
Your Life in Comics: 100 Things for Guys to Write and Draw
Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics
Thank you to Ms. YingLing for these great additions!
The Loser List by H. N. Kowitt
Stan and the Toilet Monster by Steve Shreve
Congrats to Alicia! She won the Big Nate Calendar!
I will be giving away the Big Nate 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar. Please leave a comment to win. I’ll draw a winner at random on December 10th.
p.s. Related posts:
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.