Abrams’s Amulet Books imprint has announced that Diary of a Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney will build on his hugely popular children’s series with the publication of a new novel from the perspective of hero Greg Heffley’s best friend, Rowley Jefferson. The cover reveal for Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal was made on January 8 on Today.
Marking Kinney’s first book outside the Wimpy Kid series, the novel is due out on April 9 in the United States and Canada—in hardcover, e-book, and audio editions—with a three million-copy announced first printing. Over the course of the year, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid will be published in more than 18 additional countries.
Abrams editorial director Charles Kochman negotiated the deal and will also edit the book, which will be followed by the release of the 14th book in the Wimpy Kid series, in fall 2019. Abrams is planning an extensive publicity and marketing campaign.
In the new book, Rowley takes on the role of narrator, relating his friend Greg’s story. But Rowley’s attempt at a biography soon turns into more of an autobiography. The novel features more than 350 black-and-white illustrations.
Michael Jacobs, president and CEO of Abrams, said in a statement, “Publishing Rowley Jefferson’s side of the story is truly awesome! Jeff Kinney’s power to excite, engage, and expand his fans’ worlds is evident in the amazing sales of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which has made reading fun for millions of kids around the globe. Now, that experience will be doubled with the introduction of Rowley Jefferson’s own voice.”
To date, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are published in 70 editions in 59 languages; more than 200 million copies of the books have been sold worldwide. The first book in the series, which was published in 2007, has remained on the New York Times bestseller list since its publication and through the release of the 13th book, for a total of more than 655 weeks. Kinney is a six-time Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award winner for Favorite Book, and has been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.