“When a new Diary comes out, you see kids reading it everywhere. We love these books because of Kinney’s ability to vividly describe the life and problems of an average middle-schooler, with pictures and language that capture our sense of humor and perspective.”
Those were the words of Forrest Simpson, a sixth-grader back in 2009, writing in Time magazine about author Jeff Kinney, whose highly celebrated Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has had such an impact on kids that he was named to Time’s list of Most Influential People in the World.
With some 250 million books sold globally, Kinney is a household name in children’s book publishing. Now he is about to re-imagine the traditional book tour model with a “curbside” social distancing tour to select East Coast independent bookstores coinciding with the August 4 release of his newest book, Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure (Amulet Books).
Written from the imagination of Rowley Jefferson, this is Kinney’s first Wimpy Kid fantasy book, in which beloved characters Rowley and Greg Heffley are known as “Roland the Kind” and “Garg the Barbarian” and embark on an epic quest to save Roland’s mom.
Deeply empathetic to the challenges that families as well as small businesses are facing during the Coronavirus health crisis, Kinney was inspired to embark on this latest tour. Each day, a new bookstore will host a pop-up curbside book pick-up event at which Kinney will personally deliver children signed copies of Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure.
Traveling in a wrapped “Awesome Friendly Adventure” van, Kinney will visit bookstores including:
- New York: Word Up Community Bookshop in Washington Heights
- New Jersey: Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, BookTowne in Manasquan
- Pennsylvania: Children’s Book World in Haverford
- Connecticut: RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison
- Massachusetts: Titcomb’s Bookshop in East Sandwich, The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley
- Vermont: Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center
Visit the book series’ website for tour dates and more information.
Along the tour route, Kinney will surprise real “Awesome Friendly” children of essential workers and children who have otherwise been affected by COVID-19 with signed books and Wimpy Kid prizes.
“I hope the tour will bring readers some much-needed celebration and positivity in the spirit of Rowley and his Awesome Friendly Adventure,” Kinney said.
Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure is the follow-up to Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, which was published in April 2019 and follows the undauntedly cheerful Rowley Jefferson as he takes on the role of biographer, recording his best friend Greg Heffley’s life story. The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid spin-off book, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid immediately reached number one on the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure will be followed by the publication of the 15th title in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, The Deep End, on October 27.