Penguin Random House Children's held a breakfast at the Ritz in London on Monday (4th December) to celebrate 10 years of publishing Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid novels, and to thank the retailers and journalists who have supported the series.
Kinney, who has just been on an international book tour and appeared at an event organised with Bath Children's Literature Festival over the weekend, was presented with a Nielsen BookScan Platinum Award for selling over 10 million books.
The author spoke about how he began the Wimpy Kid series by publishing chapters online 20 years ago before he landed a publishing deal. "When Diary of a Wimpy Kid came out, people wanted to peg me as a literacy advocate, but sometimes I worry a bit about my contribution to the world of children's literature," he said. "In the past few years, my perspective on my work has shifted - it might not be high literature, but it serves as a bridge between picture books and older fiction and it teaches children's that reading is pleasurable."
He also thanked booksellers for supporting his books, saying: "Two years ago, I became a bookseller. I think putting a book into a kids' hands is the closest we get to a sacred act. Putting the right book into their hands can create a lifelong love."
Kinney was introduced by Francesca Dow, m.d. of Penguin Random House Children's, who reminisced about first reading Kinney's work and divulged that his books had encouraged her own children to become readers. She ended by saying: "Here's to many more years of Wimpy Kid and making reading a joy for children."
The Wimpy Kid books have sold 10.8 million copies in the UK through Nielsen BookScan for £60.3 million. The latest book in the series, Diary of Wimpy Kid: The Getaway (Puffin) was published on 7th November 2017 and has sold 154,000 copies through Nielsen BookScan to date.