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February 16, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day Nikki!

Hey everyone, it’s Brandon here. Instead of our regular advice column, I wanted to post this video of Nikki and me hanging out together on Valentine’s Day. I hope you like it. 🙂
Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day? Did your classroom have a party? Did you give out or receive any Valentines? Tell me all about it in the comments!
February 14, 2019

I Get Homesick At Slumber Parties!

Dear Nikki,

I have this AWFUL secret. Okay, here it goes–I get homesick at slumber parties! It’s gotten so bad that I cried at my best friend’s last slumber party and my mom had to come pick me up. How do I get over my homesickness so that I can stay and have fun like everyone else?

Slumber Party Panic

Hi Slumber Party Panic,

Okay, this might feel like an awful secret, but I’ll be honest with you – I had a really hard time with sleepovers at first too! I think it’s really common. After all, someone else’s house can feel especially creepy at night when it’s dark and everything is unfamiliar. Plus your parents aren’t down the hall!

But I have a few ideas that might help!

First, you can work your way up to having a sleepover at someone else’s house by hosting one of your own! That way you can have all the fun while getting used to what it’s like to sleep in a jumble of kids on the floor and stay up way too late and play truth or dare or whatever you decide to do. And, don’t be surprised if you see one of your friends get homesick. You can help her feel better since you’ve been there!

The next step to working your way up to a slumber party is sleeping over at a very familiar house. If you’ve got grandparents or aunts and uncles nearby, this could be a good option. Or your BFF whose house you spend a lot of time at – but not a big party, just you and her. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable in a house you’ve spent a lot of time at and around people you know really well.

When you’re ready to try a big slumber party at someone else’s house, here are a few things you can do:

  1. Bring the stuff from home that makes you comfortable – YOUR pillow, a stuffed animal, your favorite PJs, whatever. You can bring a book, journal, or audiobook to listen to if everyone else falls asleep and you’re still awake. Also bring a flashlight (or have a flashlight app on your phone), so that if you need to find your way to the bathroom in the night, you’re not tip-toeing through the dark.
  2. Talk to the adult in charge. They’ll understand. You might just need some encouragement and they’ll be there for you.
  3. Call your parents to say goodnight. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed about that, but if you do, you can blame them. Say they asked you to call. 🙂 If you don’t have a phone, just ask the adults who live there.

And look, if none of these things help, it’s honestly not the end of the world. Lots of people don’t like to sleep anywhere but their own bed. You can go to parties and get picked up around 10:00pm. Will you miss out on stuff? Maybe. But you’ll miss out on more if you don’t go because you’re miserable. I hope this helps!

What are your slumber party tips and tricks? How do you get over the fear of sleeping at someone else’s house? Tell us in the comments!
February 11, 2019



SQUEEEEE!! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!

If you could design your very own CANDY HEARTS for Valentine’s Day, what would they say? List five ideas in the comments below.

I included five candy heart ideas in my artwork above! My personal candy heart messages are:






February 10, 2019


Hi Brandon,

My mom says I should smile more and calls me ‘grumpy cat’. You know, the famous grumpy cat on internet memes? I can’t help it! I’m always CRANKY! So it’s kind of hard to smile all the time when I’m not really happy. What should I do?

Grouchy Grumpy Girl

Hey Grouchy Grumpy Girl,

Oh man, I love grumpy cat! But I would NOT love if somebody called me that.

I don’t think your mom wants you to smile all the time if you’re genuinely unhappy. I mean, there are moments when “fake it till you make it” works and plastering on a smile can get you through a tough situation. But there’s more to life than always faking it. I’m sure your mom wants you to actually BE happy. But you can’t just be happy on demand. And especially when you’re being yourself at home, you should be allowed to act the way you really feel.

I think sometimes parents have so many adult issues that they think being a kid is easy. Since we don’t have to pay taxes, make dinner or go to work like they do, our lives are automatically a breeze. (Have they FORGOTTEN middle school?!) Plus they do a lot for us, like pay for the roof over our heads, etc, etc. So when we’re unhappy, they’re all like, “What do YOU have to be unhappy about?”

And also, she might just think she’s being funny. Parents have SUCH a weird sense of humor. Just sayin.’

I think you should talk to your mom, starting with the name-calling. Tell her it bothers you. But don’t just say, “Don’t call me that.” Talk to her about how cranky you feel and explain why, if you know. Ask for her help. And explain that you don’t think it’s helpful to pretend to be happy if you’re not.

If you’re not exactly sure why you’re so cranky all the time, here are a few reasons to help you figure it out:

  1. Have you recently moved? If so, do you miss your old friends or is it hard fitting in at your new school?
  2. Do you feel like you have too much homework and don’t get to have much fun?
  3. Is somebody giving you a hard time? Does it happen at home or at school?
  4. Do you just need somebody to talk to?

If your mom can’t help you, keep asking until you find someone who can. You could always ask another adult family member, a school counselor, or a friend’s mom. You deserve to smile because you’re truly happy, not pretend happy.

Hey readers, what makes YOU feel grumpy? What do you do to cheer yourself up? Tell us in the comments!
February 7, 2019


Hey Nikki!

My BFF, Sophia, moved away six months ago and I really miss her. But then a new girl named Madison came to school and we’ve become really good friends. The only problem is if I become BFFs with Madison, then Sophia will probably get mad. I’m scared to tell her the next time we Skype because she might hang up on me. Madison’s BFF from her old school doesn’t know me either and she’ll also be mad at Madison if we become BFFs! But can’t you have more than just one BFF, even if they both don’t know each other?

Friendship Frustrations

Hi Friendship Frustrations,

First of all, I’m sorry that your BFF moved away! I’m sure that this has been very hard for both of you.

It’s SO cool that you’re able to Skype, though. I totally know it’s not the same, but it’s better than not being able to chat at all.

It’s ALSO so cool that Madison came to your school and you guys hit it off. I know that’s kinda your problem, but it’s also kinda the solution—to your sadness and loneliness!! There’s really a LOT of positive stuff in your letter. I just want to help you see it! 🙂

I get why you’re worried about how Sophia will feel when she finds out about your new BFF, Madison. But let’s switch things up a bit. Sophia’s at a brand new school, in a totally different place. She doesn’t know anyone. She’s so alone. Then she connects with a new girl. Let’s call her Emily.

Finally, Sophia has someone to talk to. She gets invited over to Emily’s house and they enjoy watching the same shows. Emily helps her fit in at her new school. Basically…Sophia’s found a new BFF after she’s moved away.

When you find out…how would you feel? Would you be mad? I doubt it. You might feel a bit hurt. You might even feel replaced. The thing is, you’re still her BFF, but you can’t be with her at school, go shopping with her and go to movies together.

I’m not trying to rub it in. I’m just trying to say your relationship with Sophia is going to change. And meanwhile, while you guys figure out how to stay BFFs, she is going to need a new BFF wherever she is.

Just like YOU deserve to have a new BFF now that Sophia has moved. And your new friend, Madison, deserves to have you!

So YES, a person can have two BFFs, even if those BFFs don’t know each other! Just take me, Chloe and Zoey for example. We didn’t know each other at first, but then we all became best friends!

I think you should be honest with Sophia. And if she does have a strong reaction at first, like hanging up on you during your Skype call, just give her a little time to let it sink in. After she chills out and apologizes (hopefully!), then make sure you let her know that she’s still your BFF and you want to keep it that way. You could also say you want to see pictures of her new friends and maybe even meet them over Skype some time.

However, make sure she’s ready and willing to listen, since you also deserve a friend who doesn’t hang up on you!

And make sure SHE knows that you want HER to make new friends, too!

That’s what I think. It’s tricky, but not impossible. Once you get through the tricky part, the awesome thing is you’ll have LOTS of great friends! 🙂

Hey readers, how do you guys feel when your BFF has a good friend you don’t know? Do you have any advice for Friendship Frustrations?

Reveal your Dream Guy!

It’s Valentine’s Day!

Play this NEW game to reveal YOUR Dream Guy!

(click the image above to play)

Read all about Nikki’s dream guy, Brandon, in Book 6: Tales From a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker

February 5, 2019


It’s February and love—and crushes—are in the air!!  SQUEEEEEE!!

The biggest dance of the year is in 10 days and I’m hoping my crush, Brandon, will be my date. But time is running out.

What if he doesn’t want to go with me? Or worse—what if he ends up going with MacKenzie?!!

Below is an EXTRA LONG excerpt from my super exciting, Dork Diaries Book 6: Tales From A Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker!

If you were Nikki Maxwell (ME!), which of your REAL friends would you invite to the Sweetheart Dance (first names only please)?  Would you attend the dance with your BFFs and hang out? Or, would you invite your crush for an exciting first date?  Describe the color and style of the formal dress or attire that you’d wear. I can’t wait to hear all of the details about YOUR Sweetheart Dance, so post your answers below!

February 2, 2019

HELP! Kids Tease Me For Going To Special Ed!

Hi Brandon,

Sometimes I leave my usual classroom for Special Education since I have ADHD. There are kids who make fun of me for it and it really stinks. They think I’m weird and not very smart because I need extra help learning stuff. What do I do?

Learning That Words Hurt

Hey Learning That Words Hurt,

That really DOES stink. I’m really sorry this is happening to you. What those kids don’t get is that you’re just as smart as they are. Your brain is just wired differently than their’s. YOU probably know that. But I still pointed it out just in case someone reading this doesn’t.

I’m sure you don’t want to tattle. But if your teachers are not already aware of your situation, they should be. (And if they ARE aware but aren’t doing anything about it, then someone else at the school should be told.) Your school probably has an anti-bullying policy and this counts as big-time bullying.

Like most things teasing-related, the best approach is to act like it doesn’t bother you. I KNOW that’s super hard, but if you get emotional or defensive, you give them power and the teasing continues. Get out of the situation and go to the nearest adult or group of friends who respect and support you. You can make up an excuse like asking to go to the bathroom or something to immediately get away from those teasing you.

If there’s a certain time when kids make these comments, try to have a friend with you in those situations if you can. If it’s happening in the classroom, develop a signal with your teacher that means it’s happening, so he or she can deal with it. (It’s really their job, not yours.)

If you HAVE to respond, you could take pity on their obvious jealousy that you get out of class. If you get cool perks from that, like you play fun games or get candy rewards or something, tell them you’re sorry they have to stay in the boring class instead. 🙂

Most of all, DON’T let them get to you. The fact that they’re ignorant is their problem, not yours. You’re not any less smart. PLUS there are upsides to having ADHD. Research shows that people with ADHD are really good in a crisis (there are scientific explanations for this having to do with brain waves), way more creative than the average person, extremely intuitive, and have the ability to hyper-focus, which can be super productive for lots of things.

So remember YOU are awesome, THEY are insecure or jealous, and you will get through this!

What makes you different from other kids? How do you handle it when people tease you about it? Tell us in the comments!
January 29, 2019


When my mom asked me if I could watch Brianna while she went to HomeGoods, I agreed. Well, it’s not like I had a choice, but still! Mom said that she wanted to pick up some things to redecorate the living room with.

I figured she wouldn’t take long, so I knew I could wrangle Brianna for the hour Mom would be gone. But not too long after Mom left, I heard a thump in my room!

I ran upstairs and found Brianna sitting on my bed. But when I saw a roll of toilet paper sitting right next to her, I almost FLIPPED OUT!!

Let me back up and explain. For some reason, Brianna’s been using toilet paper whenever there’s been a BIG mess! I’ve tried explaining that paper towels are better for cleaning up, but she refuses to listen.

And it’s not like Mom or Dad really care either! They’re just glad she’s started to clean up after herself!!

Anyway, not only did she have her big-mess toilet paper, but she was also in MY room!

“Brianna! WHAT are you doing in my room?” I exclaimed. But Brianna looked at me as if I had grown two heads.

“I’m standing in your room with a roll of toilet paper, Nikki.” Then she rolled her eyes at me.

That girl has some NERVE!! But I ignored her little attitude because I was still worried about where her mess was this time.

“Mom said I could help redecorate downstairs. Wanna to see what I did?” she giggled.

I was kinda nervous to see Brianna’s redecorating skills, especially since she was holding her big-mess toilet paper. But if she wanted to show it to me, that meant the mess wasn’t in MY room!


But, little did I know that Brianna was using her big-mess toilet paper to create, well, A BIG MESS!!

The living room looked like that time Chloe, Zoey, and I were involved in the Great Toilet Paper Caper after New Year’s! Let’s just say that MacKenzie’s house did NOT look too great once we were finished toilet-papering her front yard. And when she caught us, she REFUSED to believe that my friends and I could do something so sinister!

And I felt EXACTLY how MacKenzie must have felt!! How could Brianna do something so sinister?!

There was toilet paper dangling from EVERY surface in the living room! It was all over the sofa and the coffee table. It was even hanging from the ceiling fan! I couldn’t believe the little brat had redecorated the entire room…WITH TOILET PAPER!!

I was so shocked I couldn’t even form words. I just stood there with my mouth open staring at Brianna’s work.

“I got this idea from when I went to Amanda’s birthday party. There were lots of pretty streamers hanging from the ceiling and walls! I was trying to do the same thing because it was so beautiful. But for some reason, it just doesn’t look right. I’m worried that Mommy might not like it! I think we need colored toilet paper…” Brianna suggested.

And I agreed with Brianna, Mom would definitely NOT like toilet paper hanging all over her living room!

Then I had a WONDERFUL idea!!

Okay, maybe it wasn’t wonderful but I was desperate! Mom would be home soon and the living room looked like a messy toilet paper factory!!

So I grabbed the closest sheet of toilet paper and motioned Brianna over. Then I showed her how to twirl the toilet paper around in order to create a toilet paper rose! I guess having a random origami phase DID come in handy!!

And I must say, the roses were turning out really good! Plus, they were doing their job and keeping the little brat busy.

While Brianna made some more roses, I gathered up the rest of the toilet paper from around the room. I must have looked like a tornado of arms because of how fast I was moving! Since I had no idea when Mom would be back, I knew I couldn’t rest for one second.

And lucky for me (and Brianna, too!), Mom got home right as we finished. I couldn’t believe it!!

“Hey there, girls! How have—oh my, did you make these?!” Mom picked up a toilet paper rose to admire it.

“Yeah, I wanted to help decorate so Nikki showed me how!” Brianna exclaimed.

I laughed to myself as I thought about Brianna’s disastrous toilet paper fiasco. But then again, I’ve had my own share of bad experiences with toilet paper. So I guess she takes after me! 🙂

Are you into making stuff like paper roses? How about cootie catchers or braided bracelets?! Please share your crafty ideas in the comments—I might want to try them out!
January 28, 2019

February Calendar – Valentine Chocolates

Right click the download button to save the calendar of your choice on your computer.

1 vertical page – 8½ x 11in