Calling all Greg Heffley fans: The 17th book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has published and is ready to be devoured by your tiny household readers. Love them or hate them, they’re famed for getting even the most reluctant kids to pick up a book (or 17 books) and many kids site author Jeff Kinney for igniting their love of reading.
The newest installment is called Diper Överlöde, and if you’ve spent any time at all reading these books to your kiddos, you know that’s the name of Greg’s older brother Roderick’s ill-fated garage band. In this book, he somehow gets to tag along with his older brother on the band’s tour, in the famous Diper Överlöde van, and experience all of the ups and downs (I’m guessing mostly downs) of being on the road with a rock ‘n roll band.
This seems like a bit of a literal departure for the series, which usually focuses on school life for Greg, a middle-schooler who, like most middle-schoolers, can’t quite ever find his way. While some of the earlier books have centered on a vacation, this will be the first time that we see Greg experiencing life away from his family and school, and the first time he’ll spend so much time with his often-antogonizing older brother.
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Diary of a Wimpy Kid has sold more than 275 million copies since the original book was released in 2007, according to its publisher, and they’re known far and wide for being about a pretty unlikeable kid who doesn’t ever realize what a goofball he’s being. Not so strangely, the super-funny books about a kid who can’t quite fit in struck a cord with tons of kids and has turned into a franchise that’s included movies and even a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade float.
The author says the secret is in not forcing a moral into his books and just having fun.
“I’m really glad that I didn’t know that I was writing for kids because I think that oftentimes when an adult writes a kid’s book, they start with the lesson in mind. And so the priority of the book becomes the lesson,” Kinney told CNN this week. “I focus on humor and I focus on the things that would make me laugh. And I think that’s part of the secret sauce of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
In the same interview, Kinney also spoke out about the importance of fighting book bans and making sure kids read books with a variety of characters and viewpoints.
“Representation isn’t just a buzzword,” Kinney added. “It’s essential. Sometimes it’s essential to a kid’s long-term survival. I think we all should be making sure that our kids experience different types of views because it makes us better as people and makes us better as a country.”
Looking for more books for your tween who loves Diary? Here are 15 books for reluctant tween readers.