Parents' Guide to

Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a NOT-SO-Fabulous Life

By Kristen Breck, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

First in diary series thick with materialism, thin on plot.

Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a NOT-SO-Fabulous Life Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 46 parent reviews

age 9+

this series set our whole family back

My 8 year old discovered this series through a library recommendation bundle, probably because I mentioned she likes graphic novels and Babysitters Club. My daughter LOVED these books and gobbled them up over a couple of months, reading and re-reading them. I wasn't paying close enough attention to the content but I didn't have a good feeling about them. Then I noticed my daughter and her younger brother using so much more rude language, talking back, and then my daughter got in trouble at school for name-calling with friends. Finally one day she got mad at me and told me I was BRAIN DEAD. I stopped her in her tracks and asked her why she thought it was ok to talk to me like that. She went to her bookcase and grabbed the first Dork Diaries book and that was literally the first line in the book, the narrator calling her mother brain dead. Then I looked deeper and no more of those books are coming into our house. I know the purpose of a diary can be to vent and express negative emotions with words you would not necessarily use out loud. I don't think 3rd, 4th graders are sophisticated enough to tell the difference. Now I have to back track with my kids about respect, materialism, kindness, and appropriate language and fight against the image of cool tweeny Nikki that my daughter latched on to. I have learned my lesson about not previewing a series like this for my kids.
age 15+

Dork Diaries is detrimental to girls' growth in self-confidence

Dork Diaries is centered in Nikki's crush on a boy named Brandon. The main character obsesses over Brandon, while neglecting her school work. The series sends girls the message that they need a boyfriend. It undermines everything we are trying to teach our daughters: to believe in themselves, and focus on doing their best academically.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (46 ):
Kids say (224 ):

This book and its sequels may draw in fans of Wimpy Kid books, but while the formula is similar, the protagonist here is not as appealing. While some kids may find Nikki's daily dramas humorous, her obsession with fashion, tech gadgets, pop stars, TV, and makeup make her come across as shallow. Even at the book's end, it is hard to know what is actually likable about Nikki. Other characters remain stereotypes: the jocks, the mean, popular blond girls, the irritating little sister, the embarrassing parents, the dorky good friends, the one honest guy. Reluctant readers may appreciate the relatively short chapters interspersed with drawings -- and the book may provide short-term light enjoyment for some tweens. But is not likely to leave a meaningful or lasting impression.

Book Details

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