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June 2020 Notable Author: Jeff Kinney

“I’ve never run into a person who yearns for their Middle School Days.”
— Jeff Kinney

Born (1971) and raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, Jeff Kinney graduated from Bishop McNamara High School and attended the University of Maryland, College Park. It was in college that Kinney created a popular comic strip, Igdoof, which ran in the school newspaper. It was also in college that he knew he wanted to be a cartoonist. However, Jeff was not successful in getting his comic strip syndicated after college and in 1998 he came up with the idea for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a story about a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley. Jeff worked on the book for six years before publishing it online in daily installments on It was another two years before he felt comfortable showing it to a publisher.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, published in 2007, and became an immediate success. There are now fifteen books in the series, as well as four additional books: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has won regional and national awards including two Children’s Choice Book Awards and six Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for Favorite Book.

Since Jeff started as a cartoonist and most cartoons portray jokes, Jeff thinks in jokes and then writes the stories. He says, “I write in reverse. Rather than come up with a narrative and write jokes for that narrative, I write jokes independently of the narrative and then I try to fit them in.”

In 1995, Jeff left the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England. He lives with his wife and two sons in Massachusetts, where they own a bookstore, An Unlikely Story. Find out more about Jeff at his website:

Genre: children's books

Children's literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems made for children. Modern children's literature is classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader. Kinney writes for middle school (ages 11-13). Sample Reading List: Dairy of a Wimpy Kid, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: The Last Straw, The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book, The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary

Writer's Prompt - Fun With Words

MWA invites you to have fun writing children’s literature for middle school kids. Using 100 words, select a middle school aged protagonist and write about an issue they might have to deal with.

Submit by the 25th of the month and receive an MWA Fun With Words Submission Certificate.  

Submit Your FUN WITH WORDS Prompt

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