‘Kin’ on adventures

Over a few weeks in August, Jeff Kinney, author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, visited bookstores across the U.S. to hand out signed copies of his new book, “Rowley Jeff erson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure,” in a safe, fun, socially distant way – via a custom-made 96-inch, trident!

First published in 2007, the “Wimpy Kid” books have become widely popular among young readers, who have grown up devouring the adventures of the middle-school weakling Greg Heffley. A profile writer, Kinney comes up with at least one book every year.

Rowley is the hero

Originally slated to release in April, the “Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure” was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It finally hit the stands on August 4. The new book is the second in a spin off series that follows Greg’s gullibly sweet friend Rowley. In the latest adventure, Rowley attempts to write a fantasy story. Greg acts as a critic, agent and publicist for his friend, and tries his best to not stir any trouble – which, of course, means that he ends up making things worse.

Rowley’s story features Roland and his best friend, Garg the Barbarian, as they leave the safety of their village and embark on a quest to save Roland’s mum from the White Warlock. On their way, they encounter all kinds of creatures from Sherlock Holmes and mermaids to wizards and a centaur (though it is part cow, not horse.) All the trappings of a must-read!

Doodling for a living?

Right from childhood Kinney loved to draw, but he wasn’t very glad at it. So he developed his own drawing style with stick figures and bug-eyed characters. Using his surroundings as an inspiration, he created comics strips about the life around him. One such comic strip was “Igdoof”, which Kinney ran in his college newspaper at the University of Maryland. However his work looked too juvenile and so he never received any offers from big newspapers. In 1998, he came up with the idea for “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”. Kinney worked on his book for almost eight years before showing it to a publisher.

Did you know?

  • The Heffleys are loosely based on Kinney’s own family. Like Greg, the author too felt caught between his four siblings- elder brother Rodrick, his sister, and his younger brother, Patrick while growing up. He draws heavily on these childhood memories to write about Greg’s family.
  • Greg’s younger brother, Mannu became associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, after videos and graffiti made by activists went viral on social media. He was chosen as an icon because he is familiar to Gen Z and easy to draw.
  • The series started off online on Funbrain.com in 2004 and made its print debut in April of 2007. There are now more than 200 million copies of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books available in 77 editions of 65 languages.
  • Kinney wrote the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” originally for adults. It was meant to be a reflection on what it was like to be in middle school. When he fund an editor who liked the manuscript, he was told that what he had written was more like a children’s series than a book for adults.

Oh really!

  • Kinney opened an independent bookstore called An Unlikely Story, in his adopted hometown, Plainville, Massachusetts in 2015. Throughout the lockdown, the bookstore has held online chats with famous authors like Stephenie Meyer, John Grishan and David Nicholls.
  • The 15th book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid; The Deep End”, is set to launch in mid-October, and sees the Heffley family going on an RV vacation.


Picture Credit : Google