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'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' Reading List

Book recs based on your favorite character

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • May 07, 2024

Famed for laugh-out-loud humor through words and cartoons, Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series follows Greg Heffley as he records the trials and triumphs of middle school. The hilarious and internationally bestselling middle-grade graphic novels are beloved by kids and adults alike. Hot Mess (#19 in the series) comes out this fall, but if you haven't read the complete series yet, now's a great time to get started! The series has also inspired several feature films:

Here we've put together a list of book recommendations for some of the key characters in the books. Read on to find the titles that match your favorites.

Greg Heffley

Antihero Greg has dreams of becoming rich and famous, but at this point, he's just hoping for popularity. Greg often doesn't behave very well, but he's trying. He generally believes that he's smarter than everyone else and can't understand why he isn't more well liked. But beneath his cocksure behavior are qualities of immaturity and insecurity that many middle schoolers struggle with.

Our pick for Greg: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

This 1964 classic offers timeless themes that seem especially relevant for today's social media world. Harriet is a wickedly smart, but socially awkward girl, who diligently records her (often critical) observations of everyone. When her notebook ends up in the wrong hands, she faces a social reckoning.

Rowley Jefferson 

Greg's gregarious best friend, Rowley, has his own spinoff series, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid. Rowley can be childish and naive. This sometimes leads Greg to mistreat Rowley and manipulate him. When Rowley gets positive attention for the comic strip he and Greg worked on together, Greg is resentful, yet Rowley remains, for the most part, loyal and kind-hearted.

Our pick for Rowley: Once Upon a Tim by Stuart Gibbs

The underdog at the center of the comic fairy tale shares Greg's gung-ho attitude and unassuming bravery. Tim is just a peasant, but he dreams big. When he hears of an opportunity to audition for knighthood, he jumps at the chance, despite not knowing how to ride a horse or wield anything more deadly than a water bucket.

Rodrick Heffley

Greg's older brother, a teenager, is often seen as the central antagonist in the series. He routinely messes with Greg and bullies him into doing most of the housework. He's a slacker with little motivation for anything except drumming in his angst-ridden rock band, Löded Diper.

Our pick for Rodrick: Restart by Gordon Korman

Chase doesn't remember falling off the roof and hitting his head. He doesn't, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and has to relearn his whole life, including who he is. When he gets back to school and sees the way the other kids react to him, it dawns on him that he might be the bully.

Holly Hills

Holly is a pretty girl who Greg crushes on. In the books, she doesn't get a lot of focus and seems largely out of Greg's social circle, but in the film adaptation, her personality is further developed and she's portrayed as more than just pretty and popular. She's a leader and an athlete with a heart of gold.

Our pick for Holly: The Prettiest by Brigit Young

It's the last thing Eve Hoffmann expected to be, the only thing Sophie Kane wants to be, and something Nessa Flores-Brady knows she'll never be. When a list appears ranking the fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade, three very different girls join forces to stand up not just for themselves, but for one another too.

Chirag Gupta

Chirag is an Indian-American boy who shares some similar qualities with Greg. Both boys are smart, ambitious, and prone to arrogance. They could be described as frenemies and sometimes find themselves in competition. Greg has a history of joining in with other kids to play mean jokes on Chirag.

Our pick for Chirag: Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian

Omar and his family have just moved and he is less than excited about starting at a new school. When he makes a best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a bully starts making every day a nightmare. Luckily, Omar's imagination and goofy family help him get through life's ups and downs.

Manny Heffley

Greg's younger brother is pampered and spoiled by Greg's parents. When he doesn't get his way, Manny can be very vindictive. Despite being a toddler, he can be very cunning and devious, pulling off outrageous capers like cutting off all the electricity to the house, except for his own room.

Our pic for Manny: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Two is a crowd when Peter and his little brother, Fudge, are in the same room. Grown-ups think Fudge is absolutely adorable, but Peter and his pet turtle, Dribble, know the truth. From throwing temper tantrums to smearing mashed potatoes on the wall, Fudge causes mischief wherever he goes.


Greg's school friend and neighbor is known for being weird. He has perplexing quirks, like exclaiming "Juice! Juice!" when he needs to use the bathroom, and does not have any known friends. Greg is annoyed when he is forced to hang around with Fregley, but at the same time considers him a backup friend.

Our pic for Fregley: Entering the Deep Unknown by Robert Martin

Eleven-year-old Tommy's ADHD makes it difficult to sit still and focus and his antics often get him in trouble. His friends, brothers Aiden and Jacob, think they can use their secret powers as Ninjas to help. And as they learn more about the way Tommy's brain works, they realize his ADHD gives him superpowers too.

Shane Snella

Shane is a younger and easily frightened kid in the neighborhood. When he visits Greg and Rowley’s makeshift haunted house in Rowley's basement, Shane is terrified by the "Hall of Screams," which consists of Greg and Rowley screaming over and over again, and he hides under the bed refusing to come out.

Our pick for Shane: Alvin Ho by Lenore Look

Second grader Alvin is afraid of everything, especially school, where he never says a word. But at home, Alvin is a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a good brother, and a gentleman-in-training like his dad. With the help of his family, can Alvin take on the outside world?

Patty Farrell

Patty is a classmate of Greg's. She is a bit of a teacher's pet and Greg develops a vendetta against her when she stops  him from cheating on a geography test. She dreams of becoming an actress and lands the lead role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. This provides an opportunity for Greg to get his revenge.

Our pick for Patty: Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfield

After losing their mother, Rachel and her adopted sister, Hilary, move in with their Aunt Cora who runs a dancing school in London. Coordinated and pretty, Hilary shines in Cora's dancing troupe, but Rachel is awkward and stiff. Then Rachel is discovered as an extraordinary actress. A perfect read for would-be actresses!

Do you have a favorite character from Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Which books would you recommend for them?

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Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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