Dork Diaries is a 16-book series written by Rachel Renée Russell and follows 8th grader Nikki Maxwell as she experiences the pressures of a new school.
This series dives into Nikki’s life and mentality, covering everything from an important friend and family relationships to the newest fashion trend. Her life is jam-packed full of fun and her character will help your child realize the rights and wrongs of adolescence.
Nikki’s interactions are particularly notable and shed light on mother-daughter relationships, friendships, and rivalries. It validates the experiences and feelings of so many kids going through similar stages of life and can help children navigate their own interactions and relationships.
The 5th book in this series follows Nikki as she writes an advice column in the school newspaper. This direct advice can be really helpful for child readers but can also encourage kids to pursue similar opportunities.
Russell’s writing is very clever. She utilizes tone perfectly to ensure that readers understand when to follow Nikki’s behavior and when to learn from it. There are many instances where Nikki misbehaves or doesn’t treat people as well as she should. This is an important distinction that Russell deals with effectively but also helps children understand that making mistakes and getting into arguments with friends is all part of being human and growing up.
Children can experience Nikki’s journey with her and not only will they be able to relate to many of her thoughts, experiences, and feelings, but they will also obtain crucial advice that can be applied to their own school and home lives.
If these books sound like something your child could benefit from, be sure to check them out. They’re highly recommended and with 14 books to get through, you certainly won’t get bored.
But if you’ve already devoured Dork Diaries, here are 20 additional book recommendations to advise and entertain.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Having sold over 275 million copies, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is one of the most popular kids’ books, suitable for all types of children over the age of 8. The official series consists of 18 books, but Kinney has released similar adventure-style books that could be argued as ‘add-ons’ to the series.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid follows a young boy called Greg Heffley and is written in the style of his diary. It follows his adjustment from elementary to middle school, as he struggles with popularity, makes new friends (and enemies), and is tormented by his older brother who’s constantly out to embarrass him.
Stick Dog by Tom Watson
Perfect for kids aged 6 to 12, Stick Dog is an adventurous tale guaranteed to make you chuckle. It follows Stick Dog, who’s desperate to find the perfect burger and experiences some cool stuff along the way.
It’s jam-packed with humor and a great starter book for those working their way into more complex children’s fiction.
The Ellie McDoodle Diaries by Ruth McNally Barshaw
Ellie McDougal has a pretty normal life. She goes to school, plays football with her friends, and gets annoyed by her relatives. Sound familiar?
This series follows Ellie’s activities, feelings, and interactions as she experiences everyday life. The books are set out like a sketchbook and particularly concentrate on doodling and artistic expression. The Ellie McDoodle Diaries are relatable, funny, and emotional, brilliant for any reader aged 8-12.
Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet by Kirk Scroggs
Danvers is in 6th grade and everything seems to be going wrong. When he auditions for the local talent show, he is shown up by a detestable boy band and humiliated.
Just when he thought things couldn’t get worse, Danvers wakes up feeling fluffy. He looks in the mirror and realizes he’s turned into a muppet! But with an internship up for grabs at the Muppet Theatre, could this weird transformation be a blessing in disguise? Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet is hilarious and encourages children to see the positives in every bad situation.
Letters to Leo by Amy Hest
4th grade is no picnic, especially for Annie. Letters to Leo follows Annie’s struggles at school, her family problems, and her loneliness as she comes to terms with the loss of her mother and her friend Jean Marie.
This book is written in letter form and encompasses everything from the boring day-to-day stuff to the deep and emotional problems surrounding family and friendship.
Amelia’s Boy Survival Guide by Marissa Moss
This is part of the Amelia series and is perfect for anyone who has a crush. Amelia has finally reached 8th grade and is focused on school and her friends. She hears all the superficial girls talking about their crushes and thinks they’re deluded.
But when Gerald shows up, Amelia suddenly finds herself thinking about him all the time and wants to go to the school dance with him. She’s never had a crush before and doesn’t know how to deal with it… will she ask him? Or will she chicken out?
Amelia’s Boy Survival Guide is a great option for older kids who are starting to think about relationships and interacting romantically. This is a light-hearted book that will provide advice and humor, and is guaranteed to be relatable to many readers.
Stuck in the Middle of Middle School by Karen Romano Young
Doreen (Dodo) got into trouble at her last school and now her family is moving. As they arrive at their new house, Dodo’s mum gives her a blank notebook which she uses to doodle her experiences including the move, a new home, a new school, and most importantly, her new friends.
Stuck in the Middle of Middle School will appeal to any kid that feels a little isolated. With a focus on individuality and a positive spirit, this will be a great book for anyone who craves a sense of belonging and support.
From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot
Olivia Harrison is mostly a normal kid. Except that she never met her dad and has to live with her aunt and uncle… oh yeah, and she’s a princess.
One day, Annabelle Jenkins, the mean, popular girl, pushes her over at the bus stop and Olivia is saved by her long-lost sister, Princess Mia Thermopolis of Genovia. You may recognize this name if you’ve watched or read The Princess Diaries.
From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess documents Olivia’s transition from an average middle-schooler to a fashionable princess – perfect for any fantasy fans or budding fashionistas!
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Drama is a graphic novel that follows theatre-obsessed Callie. Even though she can’t sing and her acting is questionable, Callie makes sure to get involved in school productions backstage. This year, she’s in charge of set production and she’s determined to create a set that would make Broadway jealous.
But she soon realizes she doesn’t know much about materials or art, and she finds herself involved in drama on and off-stage.
Kate the Great by Suzy Becker
Kate is in 5th grade and has always felt like the boring, odd one out. Her sisters are cleverer, prettier, or cuter than she is and she is under heaps of pressure from her parents and teachers to do well at school.
Kate the Great will be ideal for any child who feels left out or a little behind. Kate’s laugh-out-loud stories and relatable thoughts will keep you hooked and the hundreds of illustrations will help bring Kate’s world to life.
Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle
Katie-Rose, Milla, Violet, and Yasaman are all super different. They’re talented in different areas and have little in common but when the structures of the new school year push them together a charming (if not a little complex) friendship group grows.
Luv Ya Bunches is a beautiful story of friendship. It promotes strength in unity and contains a mixture of narrative styles to keep readers engaged.
The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt follows a pretty normal girl called Moxie who is starting boarding school soon. She plans to reinvent herself, thinking that her name is a little too cool for her.
But as she changes her style, she begins to lose sight of who she really is and must navigate new friendships and new settings trying to keep up this fake persona. This story is about friendship, identity, and staying true to yourself, a brilliant book with a brilliant message, suitable for kids over the age of 10.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Roller Girl is one of the most popular graphic novels in the kids’ department. It follows super quirky Astrid, who must decide whether she wants to pursue her roller skating dream or stay close to her best friend, Nicole.
This is an excellent visual book that will be relatable to many young readers. As lives get busier and friends to drift, many kids make crucial choices that will determine their futures. Astrid can help make these choices a little easier and illustrate how important individuality and friendship really are.
Real Friends by Shannon Hale
This is an amazing story of friendship and social interaction and will advise and warn readers who may be experiencing similar situations.
Real Friends follows Shannon and Adrienne, who have been best friends for as long as they can remember. But when Adrienne starts hanging out with the popular girl, Jen, Shannon feels left behind and watches as her best friend gets morphed by popularity and status.
Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf by Jennifer L. Holm
Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf is told through notes, reports, poems, cartoons, receipts, and even emails, engaging children through various narrative formats.
Ginny is having a particularly bad 7th grade. A bunch of weird and wonderful things happen to her, most of which are out of her control, but they all culminate in one of the worst school years she’s experienced.
The Unteachables by Gorgon Korman
The Unteachables are a group of misfits, disruptors, and academic disasters. This group has been isolated in room 117, away from the other classes, and is supervised by Mr. Kermit, whose attitude towards children and teaching stinks.
Will these individuals find a balance and succeed? Or will they fail as everyone presumes?
Frazzled by Bookie Vivat
Abbie Wu is very chaotic. She’s always in crisis and appears like a mess. This is a story of Abbie’s reality, navigating middle school, trying to fit in, and arguing with her family.
Frazzled is hilarious, relatable, and brilliantly innovative. A must-read for any Dork Diaries fan.
Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk
Dany’s now in a new middle school, starting 7th grade, and trying to find some friends. With exclusive cliques appearing everywhere around her, Dany feels like she’ll never fit in.
So, when she gets given a magic notebook, she draws herself a best friend who comes to life and fills the gap. But when she finds out she’s been made with magic, will Dany be back to square one? Making Friends is a fantastic book for any child struggling to socialize. It’s easy to read and emotive, funny, and magical – what more could you want?
Always, Abigail by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Abigail has a great group of friends and all of them are super excited to join the middle school cheerleading squad. But when Abigail is the only one who doesn’t make the team, she’s forced to socialize with Gabby, who’s nice, but not Abigail’s kind of person.
Always, Abigail is a great story of social inclusion, friendship, and compatibility.
The Pages Between Us by Lindsey Leavitt
The Pages Between Us uses various narrative styles to tell this story. This is a fantastic tale of friendship, following Piper and Olivia as they find alternative ways to stay close during their very separate middle school schedules.
This book is one of 2 and details the importance of good friends during hardship.
These 20 books will make you laugh, cry, and teach you a thing or two about the school, friendships, and maybe even crushes. School is hard for everyone, even those who make it seem easy. Reading some of these books may help you realize that you’re not alone and that what you’re doing, feeling, and learning is totally normal.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid has received heaps of positive reviews. It’s emotional, didactic, and super funny. And you can enjoy the film adaptation once you’ve finished!
Is Dork Diaries tailored more to girl readers?
No, this series can be read and enjoyed by anyone. But because the main character is a girl, some boys may find it harder to relate to some of the issues discussed.
What age is Dork Diaries meant for?
The fine print at the back of the books claims that the books are written for readers aged 9 to 13. However, children above the age of 13 will still enjoy these books and should still relate to a lot of the themes discussed.
Is Dork Diaries a true story?
It’s not 100% factual, but in an interview with NPR, Russell claimed that many of the stories are based on real things that happened to her daughters.
How many copies has Dork Diaries sold?
This series has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, according to its official website.