Jeff Kinney and the Consequences of Writing Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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For my research paper I decided to find out more about someone who I looked up to as a kid, Jeff Kinney. In elementary school, reading used to be what you would find me doing the most. I ended up getting hooked on the series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” which was written by Jeff Kinney. These books were very comical and relatable to my own life which made me want to read more. I sometimes would stop and think about who Jeff Kinney was and what his life was like. The purpose of this essay is to explain who Jeff Kinney is and his impact on readers. My essay is composed of Jeff’s early childhood, where he went to school, why he began writing, and his impact on readers today. I personally believe that Jeff Kinney is the greatest author of all time because he is determined, proud, and decorated as an author.

Jeffery Patrick Kinney was born on February 19, 1971 in a town located just outside of Washington D.C. known as Fort Washington, Maryland. When he was little, always was very imaginative and had a positive mindset. He was very creative and artistic and loved to read. As Jeff got older, he was inspired by other literature authors and began doing it himself. He spent his high school years at Bishop McNamara High School and then went on to attend the University of Maryland, where he would create Idgoof. Igdoof is a comic strip that Jeff created that began blowing up around the school’s campus where it was even featured in the school Newspaper. People thought this comic was truly funny and from there on out he knew that he wanted to be a cartoonist.

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After college, Jeff decided to move to New England to pursue his dream of writing and drawing. One day he came up with an idea called “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, a comical book that features the life of Greg Heffley. It contains cartoons on almost every page that give the reader a sense of what is going on in the story and picture it in their minds. At the time he had no idea that this would be the book that would shape his entire career. It took Jeff around nine years to fully write the book and have it published in 2007. To this date, there are currently thirteen books to the series and has sold over 200 million copies worldwide. Greg from "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series is a beloved character whose misadventures and humorous escapades have captivated readers and moviegoers worldwide.

To go along with the series, there have been four movies produced that are based on the series. The first movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” debuted in 2007, followed by “Rodrick Rules” in 2001, “Dog Days” in 2012, and finally The Long Haul in 2017. The movies revolve around the day to day life of middle school student Greg Heffley who always find himself in trouble. The rest of Greg’s family always seems to annoy him but thanks to his best friend, Rowley, Greg does just fine. These movies contain funny moments that are based off the books. These moments can include such as Greg Heffley’s brother, Rodrick beating him up or the family dog eating their dinner for the night. People remember these funny moments and tell them to their friends which helped the whole series to spread. The most iconic moment was shown in the original movie, the “cheese touch”. The “cheese touch” is a piece of cheese that has been sitting on the pavement of the school playground for years. One day, a boy touched the cheese and everyone began saying that he had the cheese touch. If you were “infected” with the cheese touch, everyone would run from you until you touched someone else and got rid of it. Kids around the world thought it was hilarious and started doing it as a joke in there own schools. It became a classic moment of the entire series.

The entire “Diary of a Wimpy” kid series has inspired kids today all around the world. Jeff believes that reading is the key to developing a healthy mindset in children early, so that when they are older they have the necessary skills to read and write later in life. He even says this in a quote himself, “Books uniquely teach empathy because they allow the reader to see life from a different point of view” (Ferguson). Reading can make people feel like they are wanted in the world if they can connect to the story, which is what Jeff aims for. Kids from the age of early elementary school to even high schoolers are hooked on these books because of how funny they can be. Jeff purposely uses real life situations in his books to try and make kids feel like they are in a scenario that they can relate to in real life. Kinney has even been quoted saying, “I keep hearing how important it is for kids to feel seen - and they can feel seen by an author, when an author recognises their situation and describes the way they feel” (Ferguson). He feels as though his readers are mature and can understand literature at a young age which will help them as they grow. I can also relate to this firsthand as I used to be a huge fan of this series. After reading many of the books, I would try to draw and recreate the cartoons that were in the story. I became almost “addicted” to the series and eventually I would be reading them at the supermarket, in the car, or even in my own bed at night. It gave me a sense that reading is fun and that I could do anything I wanted if I out my mind to it. It’s the reason why Jeff writes his books, to inspire kids around the world like me to want to read. His series has now become so popular that you can find many of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books in classrooms or libraries anywhere.

From this series alone, Jeff Kinney has become a New York Times best selling author and has been named as one of the most influential people in the world. He has won numerous awards such as the Goodreads Choice Award, Kids Choice Award for best book, and even the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award to name a few of them because there are so many. Out of the whole experience, Jeff has gained a huge following and a lot of fame to go with it. While he’s gone through all of that, he’s never forgotten where he came from. Jeff isn’t about the luxury and living in Hollywood. Today he lives in Plainville, Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. To this day, he still spends most of his time writing and thinking of new books and ideas. He even states this saying, Yesterday, I spent a good part of the day in a graveyard, sitting in my car, writing jokes. No-one bothers me there” (Stephenson). At this point, it doesn’t seem like the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series will be ending any time soon. Jeff has even taken time out of his writing to build a brand new book store using his own money. The store is called An Unlikely Story right where he currently lives in Plainville. Right when the store first opened, hundreds of people went in to check it out and it became an extremely popular new bookstore. He even did two events there and met fans to sign autographs and take pictures with them. An Unlikely Story was even featured on national TV which built up the hype around it and spread the news of the store to fans all around the country. It is a very unique bookstore that has books and candles hanging from the ceiling which sort of describes Jeff’s personality. The store is filled with hundreds of books that have any type of genre any reader could ever want. He is humble yet he is also unique with his writing style.

In conclusion, I agree with my thesis statement that Jeff Kinney is determined, proud, and decorated as an author. He is determined because Jeff still writes his books with a passion even though he already has plenty of money to live out the rest of his life. He writes his books for children and not for himself. He does it to inspire kids to be whatever they want to be and to get them motivated to want to read. Jeff is proud because he is a father of two and has a wife. He is not only proud of his family, but also takes pride in writing his books which he spends many hours of his days doing. Kinney is decorated as an author because he has won many prestigious book awards and his “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series has become a New York Times best seller. It has become

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