Many families are familiar with Farmer Brown’s infamous typing cows (Click, clack, moo!) or the wimpy kid who kept a diary, but there are lots more books for kids who like the diary style of fiction. From preschool to middle school you can find books with characters that write all about it. Here are a few to try.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Kids develop the ability to write by first scribbling and drawing pictures to tell the ideas and stories they imagine. Harold is one such young fellow. He decides to take a moonlit walk one night–only he doesn’t have a moon. What he does have is his trusty purple crayon. So he draws himself a moon. And then he draws himself a path. And then a whole, wonderfully imaginative adventure follows that has been delighting readers for nearly sixty years.
Chester by Melanie Watt
Many authors mention in the blurbs on the jackets of their books that they have a pet. It seems like you need a good pet to be a good writer. Chester is Melanie Watt’s pet, but he is anything but helpful to her. A mischievous feline with writing ambitions of his own, Chester attempts to sabotage Melanie’s work and make the book his own, with hilarious results that will fill your young school-aged child with glee. (Also for this age group, try Doreen Cronin’s Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly.)
Gorilla City (The Amazing Adventures of Charlie Small) by Charlie Small
Middle school readers who like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series can find numerous read-alikes to try, some in diary format and some not. Many have girl protagonists, like Jim Benton’s Dear Dumb Diary series and Ruth McNally Barshaw’s Ellie McDoodle. Some have multiple voices, like Jim Angleberger’s funny The Strange Case of Origami Yoda or Kate Klise’s Regarding the– series. Yet many fans of the Wimpy Kid books are much younger than the sixth-grade protagonist of that series and might relate better to a character like Charlie Small, an eight-year-old who, in a series of books, records in his diary how has been alive for hundreds of years surviving death-defying adventures at every turn. Reads at the pace of a choose-your-own-adventure novel, with crocodile wrestling, snake attacks, rhino rides, and gorilla kidnappings.