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Article  •  12 October 2023

 

Why kids should be reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Encourage a love of reading, critical-thinking skills and self-expression with The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books aren't all just middle-school misadventures and funny jokes. Here are a few reasons why you SHOULD be encouraging kids to pick up the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books:

  • They contain important and relatable themes.

Underneath the highly kid-appealing humour and silliness, the Wimpy Kid books explore some of the many challenges and uncertainties that children face. Friendship, bullying, fitting in, self-esteem, loyalty, trust and the difficulties of navigating the sometimes conflicting demands of school, family, friends and one’s own conscience. Readers can really resonate with these themes and issues thanks to their relatability and the playful and humour-filled way in which they are tackled.

 

  • They build critical thinking skills and empathy.

It's well known that Greg is no role model. He is very much imperfect. He’s lazy, dishonest, a bit narcissistic and often takes his friend Rowley for granted and treats him poorly. But this portrayal of a character with imperfections and questionable actions can help kids to develop their critical thinking and social problem-solving abilities. Not every protagonist in kids books needs to be the perfect role model – people are human and they’re imperfect and this is an important thing to talk about with children. Greg as an anti-role-model, can open up good discussions around decision-making, struggling with your conscience and morals. There’s opportunity for kids to grapple with the issues Greg is going through and consider how they would handle these situations differently or similarly.

The diary format of these books also helps kids to empathise with the struggles Greg faces and makes it easier for kids to put themselves in his shoes – a great tool for nurturing empathy.

Conversation topics: What are the personality traits and behaviours you associate with Greg? What traits and behaviours do you want people to associate with you? Why?

What makes a good friend? How do you think Rowley feels about his friendship with Greg? If Rowley kept a journal, how do you think he would describe his interactions with Greg?

How would you describe bullying? Are all kinds of bullying the same? Why or why not? Can you think of any other examples of bullying in other books you have read?

 

  • They encourage self-expression.

The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book begins with Greg declaring “First of all, let me get something straight: This is a JOURNAL, not a diary.” He makes it known that starting this journal was “MUM’s idea, not mine” and that if she thinks he’s “going to write down my ‘feelings’ in here or whatever, she’s crazy.” But Greg does end up recording not only the humorous events and problems he encounters, but his feelings too. The diary format of these books can encourage kids to keep their own diaries to express their thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Journalling, which can not only help to enhance children’s writing skills, is also widely regarded as being beneficial for mental health.

Conversation topic: In your opinion, why do you think Greg is so good at keeping his “diary” updated over time? How does writing in it help him in life?

 

  • They nurture a love of reading.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are a fantastic gateway into reading for many children, their humour, silliness, and comic-book like format are incredibly appealing, and make this series extremely accessible for reluctant readers who may not otherwise be inclined to pick up a book.

The popularity and large readership of the series, means that by reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid books kids will have a book in common with their classmates, and wider community. Therefore making the series a great tool for sparking conversations about books and building reading communities. Children find the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books fun and engaging to read and that alone is a good reason to encourage kids to pick up this series. Gaining enjoyment from reading is incredibly important - children who enjoy reading commonly have a reading age a couple years ahead of their peers.   

Conversation topic: What is your favourite Diary of a Wimpy Kid book? Why is it the best in your opinion?

conversation topics taken from wimpykid.com

 

The latest in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series:

No Brainer: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (18) Jeff Kinney

In No Brainer, book 18 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series from #1 international bestselling author Jeff Kinney, it’s up to Greg to save his crumbling school before it’s shuttered for good.

Buy now

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