Does the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ series bother you?

Have you heard of these “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books by Jeff Kinney? Are your kids into them? Are you?

There were three books in the series and the fourth book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” was released this week. The books chronicle the misadventures of two middle-school age boys trying to work through adolescence, home life and school with as little effort as possible.

The plots revolved around slapstick, laziness and ethical lapses that 8 to 12 year-old really enjoy but parents aren’t so sure about.

The New York Times reports:

“The words ‘moron,’ ‘jerk,’ ‘dork’ and ‘hot girls’ are used in the first five pages,” complains a reviewer on Amazon of the first book. “This is a poor choice for good character building in your children.”

But many experts disagree.

“It really captures the struggle of a child that age trying to figure out what it means to be a person,” said Dr. Joshua Sparrow, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sparrow read the first Wimpy Kid book after a young patient told him about it.

Dr. Lawrence Rosen, a pediatrician who founded the Whole Child Center in Oradell, N.J., says he has talked about the series with his third-grade daughter, who says she likes that the main character is “not perfect.”

“The power of the book is about the wimpy kid, a regular kid with regular problems, just dealing with what life brings him,” Dr. Rosen said. “For parents, I suppose reading the books or at least discussing them with our kids will give us a more realistic idea of what their lives are like, the struggles they face every day.”

I have not read any of these books so I am definitely going to check it out.

Are you familiar with the “Wimpy Kid” series? Do you like it, hate it, have problems with it? Do you think it can help kids worth through ethical dilemmas in life and/or help parents have a dialogue with their kids about making ethical decisions?

83 comments Add your comment

Andrea

October 13th, 2009
3:03 pm

I shouldn’t have said geared toward a Black youth – I meant with a Black youth as the main character. It really isn’t geared solely toward Blacks.

PTC Mom

October 13th, 2009
3:05 pm

Theresa – also check out the Dear America series, I would second the American Girl and Narnia series, and my daughter (3rd grade, 6th grade AR level also) is into the Inkheart series (Cornelia Funke) and Harry Potter. We are stopping at Goblet of Fire for Harry, though. Black Stallion books (Walter Farley) or Misty of Chincoteague (Marquerite Henry) are good for horse lovers. Have you tried the Merlin Missions? They have Jack and Annie still, but the reading level is a little higher.

PTC Mom

October 13th, 2009
3:09 pm

I forgot – don’t worry about the Wimpy Kid series – those words ARE a part of middle school. Why don’t you get one out and read it and then decide if it’s appropriate for your child. Some parents don’t do the Potter series, others aren’t that crazy about Narnia..ultimately it’s every parent’s call for their kid. I don’t encourage my daughter to read Junie B. Jones because the grammar bothers this ex-English teacher, but I really love the character.

LaShaundra

October 13th, 2009
3:10 pm

My sons also love these books. I have not read them, but I will support anything that gets them too read.

Val

October 13th, 2009
3:15 pm

Another favorite of ours is Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli

AndyW

October 13th, 2009
3:25 pm

My 9-year-old son loves (LOVES!) the Wimpy Kid books. He’s read the first three dozens of times and on his insistence, we pre-ordered the 4th book. I have not read any of the books, but what I have heard (mostly from my son reading me parts that he found particularly funny) there is nothing that I would deem inappropriate. They are nothing but harmless fun & if they get reluctant readers interested, all the better. .

Brandon

October 13th, 2009
3:48 pm

I feel my son sometimes needs a kick start in the morning before school, so I make him read out loud to me instead of watch television. I let him pick whatever he wants, so the reading isn’t that grueling. And everytime I ask him to read, he grabs “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” I wasn’t too thrilled about the title or the contents of the book at first, but hearing him laugh and making me laugh as he reads the books has brought us a lot closer these past couple of years. I condone anything where a child and parent can communicate effectively and learn during the process. Keep writing those books Jeff! Thank you!

JATL

October 13th, 2009
3:55 pm

Theresa -for your 3rd grade girl -when I was in 3rd I also read several levels above the grade, and I LOVED Anne of Green Gables, The Boxcar Children, good ‘ol Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, the Little House on The Prairie series, and one that’s often overlooked -Trixie Belden mysteries -those were WONDERFUL! I know many of these have already been suggested, but I also second the Madeleine L’Engle books. Beverly Cleary was great -Ramona and Beezus, Henry Higgins, etc. and some of the Judy Blume books are great for that age too – “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” and “SuperFudge” were two of my all-time favorites. If your family never has read it, get “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and read it this year. My teacher first read it to us in 2nd grade, and I’ve re-read it every year. It’s hilarious and will leave you with a little tear in your eye at the end.

FCM

October 13th, 2009
6:29 pm

OK I asked my resident expert, female aged 9 (almost 10): Wimpy Kid Series, Candy Apple Books, (Junie B were good but now they are babyish), Bailey Street Kids, Judy Blume: Tales of 4th Grade Nothing, Superfudge, Fudgemania, Double Fudge, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (aside from Mom: Blubber is good too but she hasn’t read it yet!), Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Narnia, Ramona, some American Girls (Julie and Samantha were good).

Ones Mom liked but cannot get her to read: Encyclopedia Brown, Little House, Boxcar, Charlotte’s Web, & Pippi Longstocking (I may try this again with her).

Now lots on the board are talking Nancy Drew, Catcher in the Rye, or Anne of Green Gables. NONE of those held my attention as a child but I did enjoy Anne of Green Gables as something to share with my child — though we cheated and did it via PBS.

FCM

October 13th, 2009
6:35 pm

JATL: If you have not seen Loretta Switt (M*A*S*H) in Best Christmas Pagent, you should try and locate a copy. HILARIOUS! I think I will get that as a book for mine to read this Thanksgiving.

Oh and my oldest is got me hooked on the Wrinkle in Time series (no I had not read it as a kid myself). You know Rose best, she may or may not be up to that series, it is really cool but very deep.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 13th, 2009
8:23 pm

good list FCM!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 13th, 2009
8:26 pm

I’m reading from the bottom up so i’m seeing that a ton of people left me great books for Rose! So nice of you all. I’m cutting and pasting into a big file that I can take with us to the library! thanks so much for all the good ideas everyone!!!

Zoe

October 13th, 2009
8:58 pm

Theresa if your library system is on Pines (www.gapines.org), you can actually search the library card catalog from home, request books online and have them held for you at the front desk of your local library. You can also search all the libraries in the state on Pines and if you find a book at one library that your local library doesn’t have, you have it sent to your local library. You’ll have to create an online account. I haven’t done it yet, I just found out about it last week. But you can search the library systems around the state without actually having to log in.

stayatworkmombie

October 13th, 2009
9:31 pm

my 2 month old just graduated from Law school, really.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

October 13th, 2009
9:51 pm

We search online or order for Walsh a lot — he’s very specific about the books he wants — not just any old book — very specific. So that way he gets exactly what he wants – I think Rose doesn’t know what she wants to read — She’s working on Harry Potter now — She gets scared very easily but I think she’s ready for it now.

deidre_NC

October 14th, 2009
12:30 am

i always read anything…nothing was ever censored in my house..(of course there was no porn lol) but we were never told..’you arent old enough to read that yet’ ive been the same with my kids…they can and do read what they want..always have. all my kids love to read…my parents loved to read…my siblings love to read…i too always have a book with me…one in the car in case i finish the one in my bag….i too read in traffic…if theres a road block for road construction i read….when i lived in north atlanta and worked downtown i read spider man comics in the stop and go traffic…becky i am with you one that one…i never ever sit and dont have a book in my hands…

i think if your kid wants to read it let them…there is nothing that teaches people life experience like a book (other than life experience itself) and i always say…if you can read you can do anything. the sky is the limit

Becky

October 14th, 2009
8:27 am

thnak you diedre_NC

Jessica

October 14th, 2009
9:19 am

I think our reading habits can be compared to our eating habits. A lot of the books kids like are literary junk food — there’s nothing wrong with enjoying them once in a while, but if that is all the kid is taking in he will end up with a weak, unhealthy mind.

Sunshine

October 14th, 2009
7:37 pm

JJ-

I read all the time and usually have 5 to 6 books going at one time :-) I always have been that way. I think if parents encourage their kids to read whatever interests them, it would be better for the kids. If it’s something that is really questionable, don’t. Take the time to talk to your kids about what they are reading. I saw a message someone posted in the ladies restroom, obviously from a kid- “I wish my parents would reach out to me” the reply was ” Maybe they want the same thing.” I told my bf that it’s not the kids job to reach out to the parents but the other way around. Take the time to connect with your kids. They will be gone before you know it.

Annabell Schuler

October 14th, 2009
10:00 pm

Dear “MOMania”

As a proud mother of three teen-agers, I think that the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book series is wholly inappropriate for my impressionable children. I do not think that they should be exposed to inappropriate words like “moron” and “stupid”. In addition, I find the main character Greg to be a terrible example for young children to follow. I will be petitioning the local library to remove these books from its shelves and I am enlisting people in my church congregation to help me.

Sincerely,

Annabell Schuler

motherjanegoose

October 14th, 2009
10:31 pm

@Annabell Schuler

If in fact you are serious….I hope you die of Gonorrhea and rot in HELL!!!

Diary of a wimpy kid fan

October 16th, 2009
5:05 pm

This book is fine. Sure some words like that biy really come on. Kids watch Nick at night which they swear on. This is not like that. In a interview with the author he said to NOT follow what he says. In my kids school they have these books on our librarys shelf!!!!!! When a new one comes out its gone in at least one hour. Moron and stupid are not bad words they use it in my kids school and is fine. Yes Greg is a somewhat a bad example for kids but just dont do what he does. And your library is NOT going to take the book of the shelf!!!!!!!!!! If they do kids WONT read!!!!!!!!!

Thanks
Diary of a wimpy kid fan

Lanny

October 16th, 2009
7:09 pm

The Wimpy Kid series is great! The language and themes are things kids hear everday at school! They hear worse at school!

Lanny

October 16th, 2009
7:09 pm

Enter your comments here

Diary of a wimpy kid fan

October 16th, 2009
8:35 pm

Hey Lanny your right!

gerg

October 17th, 2009
12:21 pm

i like the book and i am going to buy the whole series.

flashinthepan

October 18th, 2009
7:36 am

Parents who question the motives and critique the character of Greg Heffley as a good or bad person, or critique the author of the New York Times #! Best selling book series, either haven’t read the series “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. Or better yet, they just plain forgot what their life was like for 3 years of shear Jr. High School hell. Basically, a time out of time in everyone’s life.

To me, this is a book about struggling with ones identity for most of the characters in the story, and it is never finite in this series. It’s about struggling in finding out who you are and where you fit in both in the educational and family/home systems. It is about finding oneself and resolving growing up issues without the author having to preach morals and force ethical considerations down our throats because it may have been more “politically correct”. Well life isn’t about being politically correct and growing up is a far cry from finding the perfect path for any of us. This is much more pure in magic dialogue. Jeff Kinney’s novel’s brings us back (both kids and adults -who are intellegent enough to read the series as it was originally written for adults) to a time in each of our lives, of the greatest gaps in our intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and relational moments of our lives. Middle school was a kind of “no-mans” land….faulty, fragmented, unsturdy, nebulous, neither here nor there…the place each of us were to begin the building of our personal foundations, a task of difficult ease, with only marginal guidance.

Jeff Kenny manages to allow us a moment back in time to relate to those issues, just as the Heffley Family struggles through finding their individual likes and dislikes in life, and struggle with family connectedness, existence and values. Trials and tribulations abound in a time of life that has no crisp balance or rules. We confronted more of the unknown in the middle School (Jr. High School for the over 40 set) period of our lives than at any other time of chronological and developmental growth. This was not a time offering maps or guru’s and guidance, nor an exacting science to help one center themselves and grow, this was a time of being thrown to the wolves, trial and error, how do you relate to guys, girls, and what for? In my day, in Jr. High School, when my guidance counselor wasn’t trying to figure out his own purpose in life and what he was supposed to really do for kids at this level as a duality teacher, he was teaching gym class and then woodshop?

Middle School is probably the most uncomfortable and unsettling time of our personal and educational developmental lives. Of all the experiences and times of child growth in our lives , if asked where we would be willing to go back in time to experience, I think this Jr. High Time would lie somewhere between catching on fire and falling from an airplane. When you canvass people regarding this thought, I can guarantee you that this is not period of one’s life that they would consciously choose to repeat. As a matter of fact, see for yourself, ask people the same question we did. We have asked 100’s of people what experiences they would like to relive from their past (if they could) and 99% of those canvassed stated emphatically, the one time of their lives they would never want to go back to is middle school,,,,,,Most of us would never consider going back or repeating that awkward time in our lives. It’s too harsh, too unsettling, too middle ground, too undisclosed for any comfort. Elementary school on the one hand was directed play, High School had a serious change in focus with a clear understandings and now had a specific set of goals to work toward, but Jr. High School…….you are suddenly neither striving to maintain being a child, nor striving to be an adult. A kind of a hole, a work in perpetual progress without an end only a beginning…..

The author, Mr. Kinney, puts this time in perspective and light. You can’t help but laugh looking back, as there really was so much comedy in that experience for all of us. And you can’t help but laugh as a substitute for the fear felt looking forward. But this we can say. The books are a masterpiece in reflecting the reality of a time in everyone’s life of specific experiences analogous to that special time.

The beginnings of the concept of communications offered that special age period the beginning of our arsenal of tools to start to make up one’s own mind about life, boys, girls, relationships, social skills, learning, ethics, and finding ones path without having it crammed down your throat, lost in a sea of mystical and one-sided morals.

Kids read the books to help them understand and navigate this period of their lives that they can just barely relate to . Adults, read these books to help remind them of a very difficult and forgotten time of their lives, a truamatic time in our lives when we struggled with the very basis of all these new advanced concepts including the meaning/basis of existance. The bonus for reading this classic series is that you also get to understand a bit more about who and what your middle schooler is, has, and will be going through, along with your reminder of a very tough transition in life. The book offers the reader that ability to connect on the level that Kinney writes, opens up a world of communication and multiple levels of relating between adults and their kids. Thereby offering parents and kids a greater sense of connectedness between them, and a better understanding of each other, as well as the ability to communicate and relate to each other on an even ground like no book before it……..

Flashinthepan

14 years old

October 23rd, 2009
7:29 pm

hi, i have nothing aginst the diary of a wimpy kid books, but let’s face it, this is nothig what last year was like for me. We deal with issues ‘older’ than this and i think that this is more at the age of fourth graders, not sixth/seventh graders. If you want to know the truth, six/seventh graders are most likely kissing and ‘dating’ not worrying about fighting over sleding hills. the ‘cheese touch’ happened in third and fourth grade, I haven’t heard of something like that in years.

Marjorie Dalton

March 14th, 2010
3:24 pm

My grandson and I have listened to all the books on tape. We laughed our heads off as we listened, but I took many opportunities to comment on the behaviors I hoped my grandson would avoid. I told him I would rename the book “Diary of a Rotten Kid” because it has so many excellent examples of how to be disrespectful, selfish, dishonest, and mean. We’re definitely going to the movie which I suspect will also be quite funny. I now know where my grandson picked up his temporary use of the term “What the”. It was from his rotten friend Greg.

Lizzie Onufrock

March 19th, 2010
11:23 pm

I got my daughter to be attached on these books. There perfect for her i mean she loves them. She has every single one of them.From the first witch is cheese to the last number 4 witch is dog days. Don’t ask me how i know. Well fine ill tell you she always tells me.She my daughter whose Savannah has now got my son Marcus to join her thing. And i think shes trying to start a club of diary of a wimpy kid. But shes qiuting it cause its to much. I love her.

jazz hoole

April 20th, 2010
8:34 pm

“The words ‘moron,’ ‘jerk,’ ‘dork’ and ‘hot girls’ are used in the first five pages,” complains a reviewer on Amazon of the first book. “This is a poor choice for good character building in your children.” how is your child going to grow up if you shield him from things as litte as this? your child is ging t go into school, get called a moron and breakdwon an cry if you are that overprotective. people are to ovrprotctive over thier children. there is a line between too overprotective and not protective enough.

jazz hoole

April 20th, 2010
8:37 pm

“My grandson and I have listened to all the books on tape. We laughed our heads off as we listened, but I took many opportunities to comment on the behaviors I hoped my grandson would avoid. I told him I would rename the book “Diary of a Rotten Kid” because it has so many excellent examples of how to be disrespectful, selfish, dishonest, and mean. We’re definitely going to the movie which I suspect will also be quite funny. I now know where my grandson picked up his temporary use of the term “What the”. It was from his rotten friend Greg.”

miss, thats how kids act when thier not in your made up place in your head. he isnot perfect, and i doubt your little angel of a granchild is either. be realisic. (ps. im a kid, i might not no whats the best for kids, but at least your not getting a one sided view from the article and grandma over there.)

miracle book!

September 4th, 2010
3:20 pm

My 10 year old son HATED to read and was literally forced to do so. until one of his classmates bought one of these books to school. He read part of it and came home rambling about it. I got him the first three books and was amazed by the fact that he began reading way past his bedtime and was even getting up early to continue reading! He finished them within a few days. Following which he re-read them to his father and me. So not only was our child reading, we were happy to drop everything and spend quality time talking about both school and life in a way that mattered to him. So to all here against the book, don’t knock it – embrace the opportunity to talk to your kids and give advice about the things that truly matter to them in ways that they can relate. Personally, I can’t wait till the next book is released November.