Jeff Kinney is the author of one of the most beloved kids' book series out there: Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Kinney's books are perfect for both reluctant readers and those who devour them in the first 24 hours of putting one in their hands. Kinney's protagonist, Greg Heffley, is a little goofy, very funny, and gets into situations at school, at home—or both—that are oh-so-relatable.
Last year Kinney added the first book in a companion series that stars Greg's best friend, Rowley Jefferson, and another reader favorite was born. Rowley is on his second book, Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid is now on book number fifteen (!) with The Deep End. In this adventure, Greg Heffley and his family are off on an RV trip that goes totally haywire.
Here are four books Kinney has enjoyed reading this year, and looking at the list is a little like playing that old game of "which of these is not like the others."
Three Keys by Kelly Yang
Yang’s follow-up to her vital 2018 novel, Front Desk, tracks young immigrant Mia Tang’s struggle to navigate a tumultuous time in our country’s history—when California passed Proposition 187, which banned illegal immigrants from receiving a public education. The book is set in 1994, but Mia is a hero for our times.
Class Act by Jerry Craft
Craft’s sequel to his Newbery Medal-winning graphic novel New Kid is even more self-assured and sophisticated than his breakout work. Deftly blending humor with truthful observations about diversity and inclusion, the story follows the ups and downs of a complex friendship of three boys whose home lives are very different from one another.
Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President by Michael S. Schmidt
In a time when the morning’s news cycle is stale by lunch time and political memoirs whizz by us more quickly than we can read them, Schmidt’s deeply sourced journalistic novel is worth making the time for. It’s a critical portrait of a president who bent the GOP to his will and has left an indelible mark on the country’s psyche.
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang
Yang’s graphic novel opus about his journey from a basketball non-enthusiast to an informed, invested fan of the game is special because of Yang’s self-effacing honesty, his humor, and his skill at drawing you in to the story of a diverse cast of characters that make up a high school team and its coaching staff. Yang’s skill with ink and prose will put you in the middle of an eventful season.
Author photo credit: Anna Cesary
The best-selling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series tells us about four books he's loved this year and why.