Jeff Kinney's newest book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is the largest book release so far this year, with 4 million copies in the first printing. Kinney, who describes his middle school self as an average kid who had his wimpy moments, says he draws on experiences from his past while writing: "When I was on the swim team, I used to hide out from my coach, and hiding out in one of the stalls, I would literally wrap myself in toilet paper so as not to get hypothermia. All Things Considered enlisted help from kids around the country for an interview with children's book author Jeff Kinney. For now, one particularly meek kid named Greg Heffley is burning up children's book best-seller lists. I keep thinking that that was where Greg Heffley was born." As for the parents who complain that his books are too snarky, Kinney says, "My books are harmless and fun, and they get kids to read.

Kinney writes the incredibly successful series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, about smart-mouthed middle-schooler Greg Heffley, who has only one real friend because he's, well, kind of a sad sack a€” think modern-day Charlie Brown. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium.
As Kinney tells Michele Norris, his character isn't a bad kid a€” just a "not-fully-formed person." "I think most of Greg's unhappiness, he brings upon himself," the author explains. In the first book of the series, a moldy hunk of sweet cheese acts as what Kinney calls "nuclear Cooties." Kids run up to touch the cheese, then chase each other, trying to pass on its germ.
We received hundreds of e-mails from kids who wanted to have their questions answered for once!

The incident is based on a memory Kinney has of growing up, when a Boy Scout made the smaller kids do push-ups into a piece of cheese.

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