What’s Next for Readers Obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

If your kids are like mine, discovering Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid books opened up a whole new world to them. The funny stories (read: lots of farting), creative illustrations, and short chapters have been ideal for getting young readers hooked on “chapter books”— providing a welcome transition from simple children’s books to slightly more complex stories for kids.

Which leads us to this question: What next? Once your kids have devoured all 70-bazillion books in the Wimpy Kid saga, what series should they turn to next? I started researching fun, kid-friendly stories that contain enough illustrations humor to lock down their admittedly short attention spans. Here are a few ideas.

  • What’s Next After Diary of a Wimpy Kid? 1 of 10

    Click through for more book series ideas for your young reader...

  • Bone 2 of 10

    Bone is a 9-volume series of graphic novels by Jeff Smith, now available in a single volume.

    "Charming, character-driven fantasy with an elegant design and masterful story-telling in the tradition of Walt Kelly, Charles Schulz and Carl Barks." — Publishers Weekly

    "Like Pogo, BONE has whimsy best appreciated by adults, yet kids can enjoy it, too; and like Barks' Disney Duck stories, BONE moves from brash humor to gripping adventure in a single panel." — ALA Booklist


  • Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life 3 of 10

    From the prolific mind of thriller specialist James Patterson, who apparently writes a dozen books a month.

    "Patterson artfully weaves a deeper and ... thought-provoking tale of childhood coping mechanisms and everyday school and family realities ... Hand this book to misbehaving, socially awkward, or disengaged boys and girls ... It might help them believe that there is a place for them in the world, no matter how dire times may seem in the present." — School Library Journal


  • Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja 4 of 10

    Seriously, who wants to read about wimpy kids when you can read about ninjas?

    From the book description: My name is Chase Cooper, and I'm a 6th grade ninja. It's my first day at a different school and the only person I know is my cousin, Zoe (but she might be a little too cool for me). I was just another scrawny kid until a group of ninjas recruited me into their clan. It was a world of trouble I wasn't prepared for, which is why I kept this diary (or "chronicle" as my dad would call it) — to warn other kids about the dangers of becoming a ninja. They say history is destined to repeat itself ... well, not if I can help it. 


  • Secret Agent 6th Grader 5 of 10

    Another great book from Marcus Emerson:

    From the book description: My name is Brody Valentine (please don't make fun of my last name), and this is the story of how I accidentally became a 6th grade secret agent at my school. My life is plain and boring, but I do my best to keep it that way. That's why when a dangerous secret fell into my lap, I wasn't exactly jumping for joy. Everything I knew to be true was completely flipped around and suddenly I've found myself buried in special codes and conspiracies. Now I'm being hunted after because my brain knows a secret so huge your head would explode if you heard it.


  • Big Nate: In a Class by Himself 6 of 10

    Jeff Kinney himself endorsed this book, by saying "Big Nate is funny, big-time."

    "Unabashedly capitalizing on the Wimpy Kid wave, Peirce's book, for a slightly younger audience, uses a mix of prose and cartoons to tell a quick story about a day in the life of an extroverted, impish kid. Peirce does have comics cred on his side: his hero, Nate, has been the star of a long-running daily comic strip. He is the classic clever kid who hates school and whose antics land him in ever-hotter water with grumbly teachers. On this particular day, he wakes up feeling fine, sweats a bit about an upcoming test, then opens a fortune cookie at school that reads, 'Today you will surpass all others.' So, he dutifully goes about trying to best other kids at everything but seems to only have a knack for racking up detention slips. The cartoons provide plenty of gags at the expense of various adults and classmates, and Nate's persistent good cheer and moxie make him a likable new proxy for young misfits." — BOOKLIST


  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda 7 of 10

    A great series by Tom Angleberger. It's got origami, talking finger puppets, and a Star Wars tie-in. What's not to like?

    "Tommy and his friends think that Dwight is a weirdo who's 'always talking about robots or spiders or something.' In true Dwight fashion, he shows up at school one day brandishing a little origami Yoda finger puppet. The really weird thing is that it doles out very un-Dwight-like bits of wisdom, and the mystery is whether the Yoda is just Dwight talking in a funny voice or if it actually has mystical powers. The book is structured as a collection of stories gathered by Tommy and told by kids who either believe or don't. See, Tommy has a more vested interest than just idle curiosity — he is dying to know if he can trust Yoda's advice about asking the cute girl to dance with him at the PTA Fun Night. Origami Yoda — a sort of talking cootie catcher — is the kind of thing that can dominate all those free moments in school for a few weeks. Angleberger's rendering of such a middle-grade cultural obsession is not only spot-on but also reveals a few resonant surprises hidden in the folds. Naturally, Yoda-making instructions are included." — BOOKLIST


  • The Notebook of Doom 8 of 10

    I'd read this one, by Troy Cummings, just from the title alone. (It's also the first book in a series.)

    "Cranking up the horrorlarity with googly eyed cartoon figures and sight gags on nearly every page, Cummings pitches his nervous but resourceful newcomer into a climactic, all-out battle with an entire army of aggressive, air-stealing bendy balloons." — KIRKUS REVIEWS

    "Clever text full of witty asides." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL


  • Nate The Great 9 of 10

    This one's a classic, but it fits right up there within the hooking-boys-on-reading genre.

    From the back cover: Nate, with the cool detachment of a Sam Spade, immediately plunges into his new and baffling case. Gatting all the facts, asking the right questions, narrowing down the suspects. Nate, the boy detective who "likes to work alone," solves the mystery and tracks down the culprit. In the process he also discovers the whereabouts of Super Hex, the missing cat.



  • Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life 10 of 10

    And I realize that not all readers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid are boys. Here's a full series with a similar feel, by author and illustrator Rachel Renée Russell, that's written more for girls. My girls aren't tweens yet (thank goodness), but this series brings humor to the "hard, hard life" of ages 9-13.

    From the publisher: Dork Diaries follows eighth grader Nikki Maxwell as she chronicles through text and sketches her move to a snooty new school; her epic battle with her mom for an iPhone; her enthusiasm for drawing and art; and a love/hate fascination with the new school's queen bee, a girl named Mackenzie, who becomes Nikki's rival in a schoolwide art competition. Nikki writes about friendships, crushes, popularity, and family with a unique and fresh voice that still conveys a universal authenticity. Nikki's sketches throughout her diary add humor and spunk to the book, a surefire hit with tween girl readers.


Article Posted 4 years Ago

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