Thursday, April 14, 2022

RA RA Read: Wimpy Kids and Notebook Novels

Love them or hate them, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is still going strong. Interest sometimes dies down for a while, but then they get going again. I am, personally, not a fan - as I tell kids, if Greg came into my library I'd probably kick him out. Now Big Nate is different - he's kind of a jerk too, especially towards girls, but he has no sycophantic fans and frequently experiences consequences for his behavior. While there have been a few more read-alikes featuring girls, there is a serious lack of kids of color in this genre.

Wimpy Kid and similar books are sometimes called "notebook novels". They are often written in diary or journal format and include comic panels and/or illustrations, usually in a style that looks hand-drawn. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney is still being published and I regularly replace the titles, since the paper over board format does not stand up to the heavy usage. On the other hand, they're cheaper than a regular hardback so.... I purchase them with library binding when available.

The most popular read-alikes for Wimpy Kid at my library are:
  • Dork Diaries by Renee Russell
    • The main character is a girl, but both girls and boys read this series avidly
  • Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce
    • Includes both comic strip collections and notebook novels. Parents who dislike the attitudes in Wimpy Kid will usually prefer Big Nate.
Notebook novel series (middle grade)
  • Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
  • Qwikpick papers by Tom Angleberger
  • Kate the Great by Suzy Becker
  • Charlie Joe Jackson by Tommy Greenwald (weeded)
  • Babymouse: Tales from the locker by Jennifer Holm
  • Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow
  • Clueless McGee by Jeff Mack (out of print)
  • Middle School by James Patterson
  • Classroom by Robin Mellom
  • Timmy Failure by Stephen Pastis
  • My life as a... by Janet Tashjian
  • Doodlebug by Karen Young
Notebook novel series (younger middle grade)
  • Ellie McDoodle by Ruth Barshaw
  • Stick Dog by Tom Watson
  • Hank Zipzer by Henry Winkler
  • Bea Garcia by Deborah Zemke
Graphic novels
  • Amelia Rules by Jimmy Gownley
  • Middle School is worse than meatloaf by Jennifer Holm
  • Babymouse by Jennifer Holm
  • Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
  • Smile (and sequels) by Raina Telgemeier
Novels with a wimpy sense of humor and minimal or no illustrations
  • Pickle by Kimberley Baker
  • Dear Dumb Diary by Jim Benton
  • Beanboy by Lisa Harkrader
  • Slacker by Gordon Korman
  • Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets by Eric Luper
  • Max Quigley, technically not a bully by James Roy
  • Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg
  • Heartbreak Messenger by Alexander Vance
  • Nerd Camp (and sequel) by Elissa Weissman
More titles not owned by my library
  • Galactic hot dogs by Max Brallier
  • Terrible two by Mac Barnett
  • Always Abigail by Nancy Cavanaugh

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