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Jeff Kinney, author of the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series, met with Long Island kids

Artist and author Jeff Kinney with Kidsday reporters

Artist and author Jeff Kinney with Kidsday reporters Zachary Lukas, left, John Costanza, and Andrew Kluse, all 11 from Manorville, at the Barnes and Noble store in Carle Place.
  Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

We got to meet the great Jeff Kinney, the author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book series. We showed up at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Carle Place and went into the backroom to meet him. When we got back there we saw Jeff Kinney behind hundreds, maybe thousands, of his new book, “Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal.” He walked around the table of books and shook our hands. When we sat down he told us, “I will be signing these books during the interview.” Andrew was thinking that Jeff wouldn’t be able to listen and answer our questions while he was signing. John was amazed that he could focus on writing his signature and listen and talk.

The first question we asked was, why did you make a diary for Rowley? He said after reading his books he realized that while Greg was the main character Rowley was the true hero of the story.

We wanted to know if he had a favorite place to write. To our surprise, he told us that it is in his car — parked in a cemetery —   because it is quiet and peaceful and there isn’t anything to distract him. Andrew was a bit surprised at this, because he personally hates having to go to the cemetery. Zach didn’t think anyone would want to go to a cemetery at all, much less write there. John thought that if that’s where Jeff wanted to go that was fine but thought it was a little strange because not many people would enjoy going to the cemetery.

We noticed in this book that Jeff changed the font and style of drawing. He said that he felt that if he was changing the character he would also need to make the book more like the Rowley we know from “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

We love the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movies and wanted to know if he helped direct any of them. Jeff said no, but he wrote the screenplay for the last one.

We wanted to know what his major in college was. He told us that it was computer engineering and criminal justice. He has a diploma in criminal justice. Then he wound up as a kids writer. 

As most kids know, his book series is so very popular. We wanted to know if he thought if it would be this big. Jeff said he didn’t think that they would become so popular. He said that at his first signing there were about 4,000 people, and they weren’t expecting many people to arrive.

We also wanted to know if he ever looks over his old books and wishes he could have written it differently. He said that there were a few parts where Greg wasn’t the way he wanted him to be but for the most part he did a good enough job that he didn't have much he wanted to change.

We wanted to know what came first: the writing or the artwork for his books. He surprised us by saying it was the jokes that came first!

Jeff answered all of our questions and never stopped signing books prompting a question from Andrew who wondered how many books Jeff had signed? Jeff responded that he has signed about or even more than a million.

We are big fans of Jeff Kinney and we don’t think you will be disappointed at all by his new book, “Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal.”


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