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Jeff Kinney facts for kids

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Jeff Kinney
Kinney in November 2011
Kinney in November 2011
Born Jeffrey Patrick Kinney
(1971-02-19) February 19, 1971 (age 53)
Fort Washington, Maryland, U.S.
  • Author
  • cartoonist
  • game designer
  • producer
  • actor
Education University of Maryland, College Park (BA)
Period 1999–present
Genre Children's novels, realistic fiction, satire, comedy
  • Novels
  • films
Notable works Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Julie Kinney
(m. 2003)
Children 2

Jeffrey Patrick Kinney (born February 19, 1971) is an American author and cartoonist. He is best known for creating, writing and illustrating the children's book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He also created the child-oriented website Poptropica.

Early life

Jeff Kinney was born and raised in Fort Washington, Maryland. Kinney attended Potomac Landing Elementary School and later Bishop McNamara High School, where he graduated in 1989. He has an older brother and sister, and a younger brother. He is of Irish descent. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park in the early 1990s. It was in college that Kinney created a popular comic strip, Igdoof, which ran in the school student newspaper, The Diamondback. Kinney graduated from the University of Maryland in 1993, originally majoring in computer science but switching to criminal justice in order to have more time to work on his comic. In 2021 he was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa as an alumnus of the University of Maryland.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series

In January 1998, Kinney brought up the idea of a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley, who writes illustrated stories about his personal life. In May 2004, Funbrain and Jeff Kinney released an online version of the story, titled Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The website made daily entries until June 2005. He worked on his book for almost eight years, before showing it to a publisher in New York City, U.S.

In February 2006, during the New York Comic Con, Jeff signed a multi-book deal with publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc., to turn Diary of a Wimpy Kid into a print series.

The book became an instant hit, with the online version receiving about 20 million views as of 2007. When many online readers requested a printed version, Kinney agreed, and in April 2007, Diary of a Wimpy Kid was published. To date, 31 Wimpy Kid books have been released, including a movie diary and a Do-It-Yourself Book, and a biography that Greg’s best friend Rowley Jefferson wrote. In April 2009, TIME named Kinney one of The World's Most Influential People. The series is still ongoing, with the latest mainstream book called Diary of a Wimpy Kid: No Brainer.

To promote the release of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: No Brainer, Kinney embarked on book tour across the West Coast of the United States titled "The No Brainer Show" from October 23 to November 8, 2023. Kinney dedicated the tour to libraries and librarians, making a personal donation of $100,000 for libraries along the tour. He also partnered with 11 publishers to acquire "high interest, diverse books to distribute to libraries and to kids we meet along the way". Each stop featured a game show hosted by Kinney, where participants could win prizes on behalf of their local library.

Professional work

Jeff Kinney in Israel 2016
Kinney at a book signing event in Israel, 2016

Kinney works full-time as a writer and illustrator. He also created the kid-friendly website Poptropica which includes two islands called "Wimpy Wonderland" and "Wimpy Boardwalk", where the Diary of a Wimpy Kid characters and events are featured in the Poptropica universe.

Over 275 million copies of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books have sold globally as of 2023 and the series was developed into feature films for which Kinney served as executive producer.

In May 2015, Kinney and his wife Julie opened "An Unlikely Story," a local bookstore and cafe in Plainville, Massachusetts. Kinney advocates that kids should spend time reading as an alternative to screen time.

Kinney guest-hosted 10 episodes of the 10th season of WGBH local quiz bowl production High School Quiz Show while regular host Billy Costa was away on a special assignment. Kinney hosted the second half of the first-round games, the quarter-finals, and the semi-finals, while Costa hosted the first half of the first-round games and returned to Boston in time for the finals.


In 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid won a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for Favorite Book.

Personal life

On December 14, 2003, Jeff Kinney married Julie Kinney. They have two sons together. He currently lives in Plainville, Massachusetts.


Year Film Screenwriter Producer Actor Role Notes
2010 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010) No Executive No N/A Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"
2011 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011) No Executive Yes Mr. Hills (Cameo) Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw"
2012 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days No Executive Yes Mr. Hills Based on his novels "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days"
2017 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul Yes Executive Uncredited Owner of a booth convention (cameo) Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul"
2021 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2021) Yes Yes No N/A

Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"

2022 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2022) Yes Yes No N/A

Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules"

2023 Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever Yes Yes No N/A

Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever"

The books have been adapted into a film series.

A film based on the first book was released on March 19, 2010. It was produced by 20th Century Fox and directed by Thor Freudenthal. The film starred Zachary Gordon as Greg Heffley, Robert Capron as Rowley Jefferson, Rachael Harris as Susan Heffley, Steve Zahn as Frank Heffley, Devon Bostick as Rodrick Heffley, Connor and Owen Fielding as Manny Heffley, Chloë Grace Moretz as a new character named Angie Steadman, Grayson Russell as Fregley, Laine MacNeil as Patty Farrell, and Karan Brar as Chirag Gupta.

A second film, based on Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, was released on March 25, 2011. Zachary Gordon returned as Greg Heffley. Steve Zahn (Frank Heffley) and Rachael Harris (Susan Heffley) also returned. The film was directed by David Bowers and the screenplay was written by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah. Some new cast members who appeared in the film included Peyton List as Holly Hills among others. Kinney himself appeared in the film in a cameo role as Holly's father. He would later reprise the role in the third film, Dog Days, which was released in 2012 and combines The Last Straw and Dog Days.

A fourth film, based on The Long Haul, was announced by Kinney via Twitter in April 2016. It was released on May 19, 2017, featuring an entirely new cast. Jeff Kinney also cameos in the film as the owner of a booth at a convention.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Jeff Kinney para niños

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