Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series is an international success, with almost a dozen books and three movies dedicated to the wildly popular characters. The franchise’s most recent release, “Double Down“, debuted at Number 1 on the USA Today list when it was released in November. The Wimpy Kid series launched at the right time in our lives for us to become huge fans.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The books launched in 2007, with the simply titled “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” It was followed by “Rodrick Rules”, which focused on protagonist Greg Heffley’s older brother. The third book was “Last Straw”, followed by “Dog Days.” In all, book sales have exceeded “164 million, there’s a film franchise and Time magazine has voted him among the 100 most influential people on the planet.” [1] Book sales topped $150M in 2015, and the trilogy of movies from 2010 – 2012 grossed over $165M.

Cabin Fever

Our son was six when the books launched and they were instantly popular among his friends in school. The writing style is part written word and part cartoons, so they were a nice step up from comics or picture books. It turns out we were just a few of many families who were delighted to find our child actually wanted to read something. Kinney said in an early interview that he hears from many families with “reluctant reader” children. Speaking to Fortune magazine, Kinney said, “I have come to understand there is a whole epidemic of reluctant readership. Usually that means ‘boys.’” [2]

When the movies launched, they brought these loved characters to the silver screen. In 2011, “Cabin Fever” was released, and we were excited to hear that Kinney would be making an appearance at Politics and Prose, a Washington, D.C. area book store. We were delightfully surprised when the film actors Zachary Gordon (Dead of Summer) and Robert Capron (Elementary) were also there. My son was delighted to meet child stars his age.

Rowley Jefferson

We’ve stuck with the series even though we’re all supposedly too old for the books. There’s plenty to love about the books, and a fourth movie, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.” This film introduces an entirely new cast, and follows the Heffley family as they head to grandma’s house, though Greg really wants them to go to a video game convention nearby.

Wimpy Kid fans worldwide are looking forward to revisiting with the Heffleys in 2017.

[1] Duerden, N. (2015, November 19). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Jeff Kinney has sold 150 million copies of his book. Retrieved January 29, 2017, from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/diary-of-a-wimpy-kid-jeff-kinney-has-sold-150-million-copies-of-his-childrens-book-a6741216.html

[2] Rouvalis, C. (2012, November 29). The rise of the ‘Wimpy Kid’ empire | Fortune.com. Retrieved January 29, 2017, from http://www.bing.com/cr?IG=BA3248B957764CFC870185D0A92E2AF0&CID=1AD4F6B868C26F732A14FCA169F36E9D&rd=1&h=0YZ0rNYeOn-Tmx9z3K9wD7mLecZrHEDiaRQEO-fQJd8&v=1&r=http%3a%2f%2ffortune.com%2f2012%2f11%2f29%2fthe-rise-of-the-wimpy-kid-empire%2f&p=DevEx,5083.1