Diary of a Wimpy Kid Readalikes

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is, hands down, the most requested series at my library. There are several hundred copies of each title in our system and they still never manage to sit on our shelves for long. This week, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot marks the sixteenth book in a series still going strong since its 2004 debut.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot cover by Jeff Kinney

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What is it about this wimpy kid that connects so strongly with young readers? The main character, Greg Heffley, is a lovable lump. He’s not the best at anything except maybe making snarky and insightful comments in his illustrated diary. The mix of ironic humor and normal-average-run-of-the-mill art skills appeal to a wide age range and especially to boys reluctant about this whole book business. I can’t think of many other series that get requested from second- to seventh-graders, all of whom find something to love about Greg’s adventures.

This list features books that will resonate with Wimpy Kid fans. They’re funny stories that, for the most part, exist in the real world, usually in a school setting. Their characters are normal, average students struggling to find their place, but without any heavy angst or introspection. Each title features more illustrations than normal middle grade titles, but fewer than a graphic novel might have. Finally, these series have all been kid tested at my library.

Alvin Ho by Lenore Look and Leuyen Pham

Alvin Ho cover by Lenore Look and Leuyen Pham

Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything–elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’ s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home, Alvin is a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, just like his dad. With the help of his family, can Alvin take on the outside world without letting his fears get the best of him?

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Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself cover by Lincoln Peirce

Nate knows he’s meant for big things. REALLY big things. But things don’t always go your way just because you’re awesome. Nate barely survives his dad’s toxic oatmeal before rushing off to school–minus his lunch. He body slams the no-nonsense principal. He accidentally insults his least favorite teacher, the horrifying Mrs. Godfrey (aka Godzilla). And school has barely started!

Trouble always seems to find him, but Nate keeps his cool. He knows he’s destined for greatness. A fortune cookie told him so.

Here comes BIG NATE, accidental mischief maker and definitely NOT the teacher’s pet.

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The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by L. Pichon

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates cover by L. Pichon

Meet Tom Gates. When his teachers don’t have their beady eyes on him, he likes to draw pictures and write about stuff. Tom’s teachers think he is easily distracted and “lacks focus,” but that’s a bit harsh–can he help it if his grumpy big sister, Delia, made him late for school (again), or that last night’s homework had to be sacrificed to stave off a vicious dog attack? Master of excuses, creative storyteller, and middle-school comedian extraordinaire, Tom Gates is guaranteed to get kids turning the pages–and keep them laughing.

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Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald and JP Coovert

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading cover by Tommy Greenwald and JP Coovert

Charlie Joe Jackson may be the most reluctant reader ever born. And so far, he’s managed to get through life without ever reading an entire book from cover to cover. But now that he’s in middle school, avoiding reading isn’t as easy as it used to be. And when his friend Timmy McGibney decides that he’s tired of covering for him, Charlie Joe finds himself resorting to desperate measures to keep his perfect record intact.

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Dear Dumb Diary by Jim Benton

Dear Dumb Diary #1: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened cover by Jim Benton

Read the hilarious, candid (& sometimes mean) diaries of Jamie Kelly, who promises that everything in her diary is true…or at least as true as it needs to be. In this book, Jamie contends with Angeline, the school’s prettiest, most popular girl (who Jamie thinks is a goon!) and the impending visit of her troll-like little cousin. Will Jamie survive? Will she go mad? You’ll just have to read the first installment of Dear Dumb Diary to find out!

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Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal cover by Jeff Kinney

Introducing the newest Wimpy Kid author–Rowley Jefferson! Rowley’s best friend Greg Heffley has been chronicling his middle-school years in thirteen Diary of a Wimpy Kid journals . . . and counting. But it’s finally time for readers to hear directly from Rowley in a journal of his own. In Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, Rowley writes about his experiences and agrees to play the role of biographer for Greg along the way. (After all, one day Greg will be rich and famous, and everyone will want to know his life’s story.) But Rowley is a poor choice for the job, and his “biography” of Greg is a hilarious mess. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal offers readers a new way to look at the Wimpy world–one fans won’t want to miss!

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Diary of a Minecraft Zombie by Zack Zombie

Diary of a Minecraft Zombie #1: A Scare of a Dare cover by Zack Zombie

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a Minecraft Zombie? In the first book of this hilarious Minecraft adventure series, we get to read the diary of an actual 12 year old Minecraft Zombie. Take a peek at what is really going on between the hollow eyes, and dead expression that we normally see when we face the dreaded Zombies of Minecraft. Are Zombies really different from us? You’ll be surprised at what you discover.

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Dork Diaries by Rachel Renée Russell

Dork Diaries #1: Tales from a not-so-fabulous life cover by Rachel Renée Russell

Nikki confesses all in her first diary ever: her epic battle with her mom for an iPhone, meeting her new soon-to-be BFFs Chloe and Zoey, falling for adorably sweet crush Brandon, dealing with her zany little sister Brianna’s antics–and the immediate clashes with mean girl MacKenzie, who becomes Nikki’s rival in a school-wide art competition.

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Jake the Fake Keeps It Real by Adam Mansbach, Craig Robinson, and Keith Knight

Jake the Fake Keeps It Real cover by Adam Mansbach, Craig Robinson, and Keith Knight

Jake can barely play an instrument, not even a kazoo. And his art? It’s better suited for Pictionary than Picasso. Which is a real problem because Jake just faked his way into the Music and Art Academy for the gifted and talented (and Jake is pretty sure he is neither). More jokester than composer, Jake will have to think of something quick before the last laugh is on him.

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Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson, Chris Tebbetts, and Laura Park

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life cover by James Patterson, Chris Tebbetts, and Laura Park

Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he’s got an ace plan for the best year ever: to break every rule in his school’s oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class: 5,000 points! Running in the hallway: 10,000 points! Pulling the fire alarm: 50,000 points! But when Rafe’s game starts to catch up with him, he’ll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he’s finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he’s been avoiding.

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The Misadventures of Max Crumbly by Rachel Renée Russell

The Misadventures of Max Crumbly #1: Locker Hero cover by Rachel Renée Russell

Max Crumbly is about to face the scariest place he’s ever been: South Ridge Middle School. There’s a lot that’s great about his new school, but there’s also one big problem–Doug, the school bully whose hobby is stuffing Max in his locker. If only Max could be like the hero in his favorite comics. Unfortunately, Max’s uncanny, almost superhuman ability to smell pizza from a block away won’t exactly save any lives or foil bad guys. But that doesn’t mean Max won’t do his best to be the hero his school needs

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My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian and Jake Tashijian

My Life as a Book cover by Janet Tashjian and Jake Tashijian

Summer’s finally here, and Derek Fallon is looking forward to pelting the UPS truck with water balloons, climbing onto the garage roof, and conducting silly investigations. But when his parents decide to send him to Learning Camp, Derek’s dreams of fun come to an end. Ever since he’s been labeled a reluctant reader, his mom has pushed him to read real books-something other than his beloved Calvin & Hobbes. As Derek forges unexpected friendships and uncovers a family secret involving himself (in diapers! no less), he realizes that adventures and surprises are around the corner, complete with curve balls. 

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The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

The Popularity Papers #1 cover by Amy Ignatow

Lydia and Julie are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, and human guinea pig. Julie’s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey jock, and faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick. But somehow, the harder Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, the farther they get from their goal–and each other. 

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Stick Dog by Tom Watson

Stick Dog cover by Tom Watson

He’ll make you laugh…he’ll make you cry…but above all, he’ll make you hungry!

Follow Stick Dog as he goes on an epic quest for the perfect burger. With hilarious text and stick-figure drawings, reluctant readers eat this one up!

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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda cover by Tom Angleberger

It takes the wisdom of Yoda to survive the sixth grade. Meet Dwight, a sixth-grade oddball. Dwight does a lot of weird things, like wearing the same T-shirt for a month or telling people to call him “Captain Dwight.” But Dwight does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. And that’s when things get mysterious. Origami Yoda can predict the future and suggest the best way to deal with a tricky situation. His advice actually works, and soon most of the sixth grade is lining up with questions. Dwight’s friend Tommy wants to know how Origami Yoda can be so smart when Dwight is so clueless. Is Yoda tapping into the Force?

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The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other) by Geoff Rodkey

The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other) cover by Geoff Rodkey

Twelve-year-old twins, Claudia and Reese, who couldn’t be more different…except in their determination to come out on top in a vicious prank war. But when the competition escalates into an all-out battle that’s fought from the cafeteria of their New York City private school all the way to the fictional universe of an online video game, the twins have to decide if their efforts to destroy each other are worth the price. 

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The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett

The Terrible Two cover by Jory John and Mac Barnett

Miles Murphy is known for one thing and one thing only: pranking. He’s the best prankster his school has ever seen. So when he’s forced to move to boring Yawnee Valley (also known for one thing and one thing only: cows), he assumes he’ll be the best prankster at his new school too. There’s one problem. The school already has a prankster–and he’s good. Really good. From bestselling authors Mac Barnett (Extra Yarn, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole) and Jory John (Penguin Problems, The Bad Seed) comes this deviously funny new series about fitting in, making your mark, and finding a friend where you least expect one. Oh, and cows.

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The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

The 13-Story Treehouse cover by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Andy and Terry live in a treehouse. But it’s not just any old treehouse, it’s the most amazing treehouse in the world! This treehouse has thirteen stories, a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a secret underground laboratory, and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you are hungry. Life would be perfect for Andy and Terry if it wasn’t for the fact that they have to write their next book, which is almost impossible because there are just so many distractions, including thirteen flying cats, giant bananas, mermaids, a sea monsters pretending to be mermaids, enormous gorillas, and dangerous burp gas-bubblegum bubbles!

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Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made cover by Stephan Pastis

Take Timmy Failure–the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total, and what you have is Total Failure, Inc. From the offbeat creator of Pearls Before Swine comes an endearingly bumbling hero in a hilarious caper accompanied by a whodunit twist. With perfectly paced visual humor, Stephan Pastis gets readers snorting with laughter, then slyly carries the joke a beat further–or sweetens it with an unexpected poignant moment–making this a comics-inspired story that truly stands apart from the pack.

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Welcome to Wonderland #1: Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein

Welcome to Wonderland #1: Home Sweet Motel cover by Chris Grabenstein

Eleven-year-old P. T. Wilkie may be the greatest storyteller alive. But he knows one thing for a fact: the Wonderland Motel is the best place a kid could ever live All-you-can-eat poolside ice cream A snack machine in the living room A frog slide A giant rampaging alligator (Okay, that last one may or may not be made up.) There’s only one thing the Wonderland doesn’t have, though–customers. And if the Wonderland doesn’t get them soon, P.T. and his friend Gloria may have to say goodbye to their beloved motel forever. They need to think BIG. They need to think BOLD. They need an OUTRAGEOUS plan. Luckily for them, Gloria is a business GENIUS, and OUTRAGEOUS is practically P.T.’s middle name. With Gloria’s smarts and P.T.’s world-famous stories and schemes, there’s got to be a way to save the Wonderland

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