What To Read After... Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Published on: 15 January 2018 Author: Emily Drabble
Do you know children hooked on Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Have they devoured all 12... multiple times? Are they struggling to find another book they love as much? We're here to help - and you've come up with some brilliant suggestions too!
Ask any group of 10-year-olds which of them have read Diary of a Wimpy Kid and almost every hand in the room will go up. The only trouble is that Jeff Kinney's masterpieces are so easy to read and so hilarious that some children find it hard to get beyond them and find other books that they can genuinely read for pleasure.
It's these children that may stop reading once they hit secondary school, so we need to find more fuel for their reading fire! We've got some suggestions, and we'd love to hear yours too...
For the younger fans who have devoured the series and want more of the same
An obvious choice is Liz Pichon's gorgeously illustrated Tom Gates series, but now our beloved Tom is almost as popular as Greg Heffley... so the likelihood is a Wimpy Kid fan will have already read these! Mind you, they were very popular on Twitter, recommended by @StSaviourCE ('similar in style and engagement'), @MumReader, @emmyloumans, and @Elizabe74563957, who explained: 'My Year 4 class found these a good alternative.' Perhaps the most ringing endorsement, though, came from @BookJo: 'My nephew was so engrossed in his Tom Gates book that he stayed awake reading until 11pm!' Totally worth it.
You could also try the Captain Underpants series and anything else by Dav Pilkey, Jonathan Meres's World of Norm (illustrated by Donough O'Malley) or the Barry Loser series by Jim Smith. All of them are laugh out loud funny.
For fans of illustrated and cartoon style books
The world of graphic novels is out there, waiting to be explored! Younger illustration fans will love the fabulous memoir El Deafo by Cece Bell, and check out Alexis Deacon's picks of the top seven graphic novels for younger readers (make sure you check out his Geis series, too).
Another great choice is Shannon and Dean Hale's The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, a fabulous middle grade Squirrel Girl origin story.
For much older readers who never got over Diary of a Wimpy Kid
There are teenagers, even much older teenagers, who never managed to find anything they love reading as much as Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Try the chokingly hilarious (and moving) Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews - the main protagonist is even called Greg!
School Librarian of the Year Lucas Maxwell is used to children starting secondary school who never found a book to match the feeling Wimpy Kid gave them. He has two suggestions:
- The Private Blog of Joe Cowley for Year 9 and up, as the main character is 14 (although some Year 8 students do read it as well). It's full of heart-warming and cringe-worthy moments - Joe deals with bullies, an embarrassing mum and girls he doesn't understand.
- With its gorgeous artwork, compelling storylines and tons of humour, the new Archie graphic novel reboot by Mark Waid and illustrated by Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fick is, of course, for fans of the hot TV show Riverdale. But it's also for anyone who simply loves great storytelling.
For children who want recommendations from Jeff Kinney himself...
We got to ask Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney which stories he recommends to children who come into the bookshop he owns in the US.
'But I think that kids eventually find there's not a huge jump between the Wimpy Kid books and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series and, of course, Harry Potter.
'I think that Wimpy Kid is in a way at childhood's end and kids who like these kind of books are eager to move on from them. For later, there's a lot of great YA - I love Maggie Stiefvater, for example.'
Big Nate - Lincoln Peirce
Jeff isn't the only one who is a fan of the Big Nate books - they kept being recommended by you, too! 'My son loved them,' explained @kad789, while they also came highly recommended by @AlloaAcademyLib, @emmyloumans and 10-year-old Lucas. Meanwhile, over on Facebook, Tatia said: 'What about the girls who read Wimpy Kid rather than Dork Diaries etc? My daughter is one of these girls and so far Big Nate has scored highest with her.' Definitely worth giving this one a go, then.
The Treehouse series - Andy Griffith
The Treehouse books by Andy Griffith - illustrated by Terry Denton - were also very popular on social media, recommended by @WatUxbKids, @ReadabilityAus (who said their kids 'loved' the books), and @Wh_LRC ('a particular favourite').
Going for the classics
Of course, some Wimpy Kid alternatives have really stood the test of time, like @Childtastic's suggestion of Just William: 'We've had this problem with some of our readers who won't branch out into other books. I've recommended our Y6 pupils to try Just William by Richmal Compton as the original naughty boy. They always make me laugh!'
Meanwhile, @LutheBlue suggested revisiting classic Judy Blume novels like Superfudge and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing ('I loved them in the 80s and my 9-year-old loves them now'), and @oratorylibrary's suggestion of Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle went down very well with Radio 1's Chris Smith, who tweeted: 'Yes! I handed my 10 year-old The Compleet Molesworth last night when he said he had nothing to read and he already loves it cheers cheers.'
Alex Rider - Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series went down a storm with you all on social media, with @StSaviourCE and Rachel on Facebook both heartily recommending the books. So did @OliGoodwin999, who explained: 'They are fantastic to immerse yourself in.'
More of your suggestions
- Children's book consultant @Jake_Hope suggested trying Polly Price's Totally Secret Diary by Dee Shulman, saying: 'It brings together full colour illustration, hand-lettering, photographs to create humour, character and story in spades! Not to be missed.' You heard him!
- @marnielav had two recommendations for us: 'My 9-year-old loved Toto the Ninja Cat by Dermot O'Leary or anything at all by Pamela Butchart.'
- The Timmy Failure books by Stephen Pastis came highly recommended by @Mum_Reader and @ionamcf123 over on Instagram, who said: 'It has a good mix of normal typescript as well as handwriting style font - it eases them back into typescript, I find.'
- Anthony McGowan's The Bare Bum Gang series came heartily recommended by @RothLibraries, while Anthony himself suggested his book The Donut Diaries of Dermot Milligan.
- Frank Cottrell Boyce's Sputnik series had a fan in @CatherineLT, who also recommended the audiobook voiced by Peter Capaldi ('particularly enjoyable').
- For older children in secondary school, @LibWithAttitude suggested the Geekhood books by Andy Robb.
- Meanwhile, @Mum_Reader and @StSaviourCE both thought the Dork Diaries books were worth a shot as they are 'similar in style and engagement'.
- 'This is the school librarian's million dollar question!' joked @LauraJo08646945. 'I will try and get my students to start looking at David Baddiel, Frank Cottrell Boyce and David Walliams to get them into longer stories but still with lots of humour.' @StorySpotters also recommended David Baddiel ('My two boys are loving Birthday Boy and The Parent Agency was also a fab read') and David Walliams, while @collaborateLON said Walliams's books are 'every bit as addictive'.
- Andy Stanton's Mr Gum was also suggested by @StorySpotters and @Mum_Reader, while @WatUxbKids proposed Cartoon Kid by Jeremy Strong and Dave Cousins's stories Waiting for Gonzo and Charlie Merrick's Misfits got a shout out from @carlajones1979.
- Author Candy Gourlay gave us lots of great ideas: Dougal Daley by Jackie Marchant, Jo Franklin's Help I'm an Alien and the Dark Lord books by Jamie Thomson were all on her list.
- @NorfolkELS also suggested a bunch of books in one go, saying: 'We recommend Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos, Jiggy McCue by Michael Lawrence or the funny books by Pete Johnson.'
- Andrew Norriss's Archie books were recommended by @bookwagonuk, who described them as 'surefire readable, enjoyable and engrossing', while @MarrisCmarris offered up a suggestion to fans of Wimpy Kid's diary format - Gabrielle Lord's 365 Conspiracy series ('a diary format, but much more thrilling').
- @OliGoodwin999 thought Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant series was worth bigging up ('I have read them all and they are great to pass time with') while @VickiTu26263812 raved about Ian Beck's Tom Trueheart stories: 'Stupendous illustrations and magical characters in suspenseful plots. What more could you want?'
- Here's a fantastic idea from @kidsbookideas - try graphic novels! 'I think graphic novels like Ghosts and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier are a really good next step if you looking for What To Read After Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My daughter now loves all graphic novels!'
It seems you all have a lot of reading to do, so make sure you tell us which of these recommendations you loved by tweeting us on @BookTrust!
Jeff Kinney tells us why he initially wrote Diary of a Wimpy Kid for adults, which children's books he loves now, and whether he's worried about young people reading less.