Thursday, April 7, 2011

6 Diary Books for Kids


I used to keep a pretty detailed journal, from age 13 to about 21. I've always been fascinated by what people write in a diary, and there are so many children's and YA books written in that format. Here are some of my favorites:

  • A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal 1830-32
    (Middle Grade)
    by Joan W. Blos
    Fourteen-year-old Catherine Cabot Hill relates the events of a pivotal year in her life, when her father remarries and her best friend dies. I remember very few of the details of this book, since I read it only once, when I was 12, but I'm including it today because I remember it as one of the most readable historical fiction novels, and the one that got me interested in the genre, when previously I wouldn't touch them. 
  • Dear Dumb Diary: Let's Pretend This Never Happened
    (Middle Grade)
    by Jim Benton
    This is the first volume in a series about middle schooler Jamie Kelly. She uses sarcasm and a sense of humor to battle the usual dramas of preteenhood. It's hard to find funny books for girls, but this series fits the bill. 
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
    (Young Adult)
    by Sherman Alexie
    Junior, a 14-year-old Spokane Indian who was born with water on the brain explores his cultural identity after he is given the opportunity to attend a white school off the reservation where he has grown up. This book is funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Great little drawings illustrate Junior's sense of humor as he relates the events of his life. Sherman Alexie is a brilliant writer, and I recommend this semi-autobiographical book very highly. 
  • Kindergarten Diary
    (Picture Book)
    by Antoinette Portis
    Five-year-old Annalina, who is nervous about starting "Big School," keeps a diary during the month of September that shows how she slowly gets used to her new routine in kindergarten. Her class's mantra is "We are room 2K. We are fine!" This is a really good book for playing up the positive side of going to school and calming the nerves of nervous newbies. 
  • Diary of a Fly
    (Picture Book)
    by Doreen Cronin; pictures by Harry Bliss
    Written from a fly's point of view, this book gives us an idea of what it might be like to be an insect. It's laugh-out-loud funny, even for adults! 
  • Keena Ford and the Secret Journal Mix-Up
    (Chapter Book)
    by Melissa Thomson
    After Keena accidentally leaves her journal at Tiffany Harris's house, she is forced to switch over to a notebook borrowed from her teacher. Tiffany refuses to give back the journal and instead blackmails Keena into doing favors for her by threatening to share Keena's secrets with their classmates. A good one for readers just starting to get into chapter books.


  1. A Gathering of Days is a very good book. Are you aware that Blos wrote two more books in the same vein: Brothers of the Heart and Letters from the Corrugated Castle? I've read Brothers but not Letters. Some of the others you've posted look good! Cute cover on Diary of a Fly!

  2. Hi, Kathy -

    I actually didn't know of those others. I hadn't thought of Blos in years, until I came across Gathering of Days at the library. I think I'll need to hunt them down; thanks for the tip!


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