This hilarious book, written as a personal diary that includes the type of cartoons one might expect from a middle- grade (or primary-school) child, follows antihero Greg Heffley as he moves from one crisis to the next in his bid to become popular and to appear cool.

As Greg starts his second year in middle school, he is trying to establish his place in the complex hierarchy of school popularity. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, does not seem to understand the importance of appearances and is way down the league table. How Greg deals with this and the other issues that affect a boy of his age, such as school tests and avoiding bullies, makes for an entertaining read.

At home, Greg's family are another source of frustration! Mom seems to do everything possible to embarrass Greg. Even at school Greg isn't safe from her influence. Mom forces Greg to audition for the school play and then – the ultimate humiliation – she appears as his substitute teacher for the day!

Greg's trials do not stop there and he has to deal with a dad who does not understand his love of video games, an attention-seeking younger brother and an annoying older brother who plays in a heavy metal band called Löded Diper. However, it is his shifting relationship with best friend Rowley that forces Greg to make some interesting choices in the first book of the series!
Before reading...
ACTIVITY #1 DISCUSSION

What can you see on the cover of the book? What can you say about the book just looking at the cartoon on the cover?

The title of Jeff Kinney' novel is certainly eye-catching, isn't it? In your opinion, what might there be about a kid that would make him/her wimpy? (Think of at least two characteristics.)

ACTIVITY #2 CHARACTERS
Look at the main characters from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Work with a partner to brainstorm around them:

- Who might they be?
- What do you think their relationship to one another could be?


CHAPTERS
ABOUT THE BOOK
This book is a journal—NOT a diary—belonging to Greg Heffley, a middle school student struggling to navigate among the morons, girls, and gorillas that fill his school. Greg figures he's around the 52nd or 53rd most popular kid this year and soon to move up in the ranks.

Though this middle school weakling works hard to figure out the angle that will always make things come out best for him, Greg's schemes to gain popularity and status rarely seem to pay off. Especially when it comes to dealings

with his best friend Rowley, who has Greg to thank for a broken hand and getting blamed for terrorizing a group of kindergartners.

Throughout his journal, Greg shares all the misadventures of his middle school experience and his family life. From wrestling in gym with a weird classmate who shouts "Juice!" when he has to go to the bathroom to being chased by teenagers on Halloween (and losing all his candy when his father douses him with a trash can full of water) to the daily emptying of his little brother's plastic potty, Greg acerbically chronicles his year, from the first awkward day of school to the last.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the first book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. First published in 2007, the book has gone on to achieve the status of becoming a #1 international bestseller and has been credited with helping reluctant readers around the world fall in love with reading. The full Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which includes nine titles as well as The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book and The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary, has more than 150 million books in print worldwide, and has been translated into 45 languages.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney was born in 1971 in Maryland and attended the University of Maryland in the early 1990s. It was there that Jeff ran a comic strip called Igdoof in the campus newspaper, and knew he wanted to be a cartoonist.

However, Jeff was not successful in getting his comic strip syndicated after college, and in 1998 he started writing down ideas for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which he hoped to turn into a book. Jeff worked on the book for six years before publishing it online on Funbrain.com in daily installments.

In 2006, Jeff signed a multi-book deal with publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc. to turn Diary of a Wimpy Kid into a print series. Diary of a Wimpy Kid was released in April 2007 and quickly became a New York Times bestseller a few months later. In 2009, Jeff was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the world.

In 2007, Jeff also created Poptropica.com, where he continues to work full time as the creative and editorial director. Jeff lives in southern Massachusetts, where he is opening a bookstore.


Why Use this Book in Your Classroom
Millions of kids are readers because of this book! Even the most reluctant readers can't put it down. Finishing Diary of a Wimpy Kid gives struggling readers a great sense of accomplishment.

  • It is a fun, accessible read that helps you promote reflection and self-expression to students reading at all levels.

  • Kids talk about this book. Reading it gives them a book in common with kids in their class, community, and around the world. It sparks conversations about books and reading.

  • It gives you a springboard to connect students to other titles in the series, in the genre and beyond.

  • Kids see themselves in the book and discuss issues that affect their daily lives.

  • It helps you initiate critical conversations where students critique text and images and question the status quo.

  • Kids love to laugh! And while they're reading carefully so they don't miss a single joke, they'll also be thinking about how language, writing, and images communicate ideas.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid in your classroom is a great way to meet standards and laugh with your students at the same time.


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