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July 31, 2017

August Calendar – Just Chillax!!

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July 24, 2017

Dork Diaries 12: Tales from a Not-So-Secret Crush Catastrophe

The illustrated middle-grade series picks up as Nikki counts down to the end of the school year, and is questioning how she’ll spend her summer. Nikki faces a bigger dilemma when she develops a crush on a new classmate.
Book 12 will be released on October 17th, 2017

July 22, 2017

Tales from a not-so-secret crush catastrophe – wallpaper

July 10, 2017

LEMONADE STAND DISASTER!

Art For Nikki's Diary July 10th

OMG!!!

Do you remember when I made those goals for the summer? And one of them was to have a lemonade stand and raise money for Fuzzy Friends??

LOL!!!

If I’d had ANY idea how that would turn out, I would have dug all the change out of the couch cushions and donated THAT instead! It would have been WAY less stressful and probably more money, too!!

So first of all, when Brianna saw the sign I’d made that said “LEMONADE STAND: ALL PROCEEDS GO TO FUZZY FRIENDS” she FREAKED. I mean red-alert meltdown!

The lemonade stand was HER IDEA, which meant all proceeds should go to HER!! At least, according to Brianna. She doesn’t even know what proceeds are. But she figured out the main idea and she had OPINIONS!

Finally, she agreed to split the money half way. I figured that would be okay, because if something’s for charity, people usually spend more anyway.

So then we started to make the lemonade and you are NOT going to believe this, but we were out of sugar! (I know, I KNOW, we should have just bought already-made lemonade! But Brianna wanted to squeeze the lemons, which actually meant she wanted to squeeze half a lemon and then leave me to do all the rest of them.)

When I realized we were out of sugar, my mom REFUSED to go back to the store. She was madly trying to read an entire book for a book club meeting that night. Way to leave things to the last minute, Mom! ☹

So I sent Brianna next door to ask Mrs. Wallabanger for some sugar. I couldn’t go myself, because I was still squeezing the lemons! Brianna came back with a Tupperware full of sugar, I dumped it into the lemonade, and we headed outside.

We got all set up and right away, a lady walking a dog came around the corner.

“Oh! A lemonade stand!” She acted like we were giving away puppies or something.

“Fifty cents, please,” Brianna said.

The woman pulled a dollar bill out of her pocket. “I think your lemonade looks like it’s worth more than that,” she said. “Keep the change.”

SWEET! Brianna snatched the dollar and I poured the woman’s lemonade.

“You kids are such hard workers,” she said, right before she took a giant gulp…

…and then SPIT IT OUT ALL OVER US!!

What the HECK??

The woman was sputtering in outrage and SO WAS I. Before I could figure out what happened, she said, “That was a NASTY trick!” and marched off!!

I wanted to run after her, but Brianna was starting to whimper.

“It’s okay, Brianna,” I said, handing her some napkins. “Don’t worry about that mean old lady.”

She wasn’t actually old. But clearly her HEART was all shriveled up into nothing!

“Hey, you guys!”

Brianna and I looked up from wiping ourselves off to see Mrs. Wallabanger’s grandson, Max. “Grandma said you guys were having a lemonade stand. Got any left for me?”

He waved a dollar bill in front of us. This time, Brianna hesitated. But she couldn’t hold back and snatched the dollar bill again.

I still hadn’t gotten over the crazy spitting-lady, but I was glad Max had showed up to distract Brianna. I poured him a cup of lemonade.

He grinned and took a sip, and then his grin VANISHED. He looked like he’d just swallowed a bug. Or WORSE! I started to get an uneasy feeling in my stomach.

“Um, thanks,” he choked. “This is delicious.” Then he hurried back toward his grandma’s house.

“Max, wait!” I called. He turned, but didn’t come back to the table. “What is it? Is something wrong with the lemonade?”

He stared at the ground. “Um, it’s…great. I’m sure you guys worked hard on it…”

Brianna grabbed the pitcher and sloshed some into a cup. She took a swallow and then SHE SPIT IT OUT ON ME TOO!! ☹

Was I wearing a sign that said PLEASE SPIT HERE?!

“GROSS, NIKKI!” she screamed. “What did you PUT in that??”

I took her cup and sipped.

OMG! It was like swallowing ocean water! With lemons! And extra salt!!

Max crept back toward the table. “I think maybe…you put in salt instead of sugar?”

I turned to Brianna. “What did you say when you asked Mrs. Wallabanger for sugar?”

Max laughed. “Oh, you asked Grandma? You know she’s basically deaf, right?”

I DID know that.

I dropped my head down onto the folding table. Which was sticky with spit-out lemonade. Gross!

“Hey, no worries,” Max said. “My grandma’s got a bunch of lemonade concentrate in her freezer. We could mix it up and POW! You’ll be back in business!”

At that point, I was DONE with the lemonade business. But Brianna looked so happy with Max’s suggestion that I couldn’t say no.

So Max saved the day. We made $13.50, and Max refused to take any of the profits. I ended up with a whole $6.75 to donate to Fuzzy Friends.

But hey! It’s an excuse to call Brandon up, right? I have something very important to give him, after all! 🙂 (I don’t have to mention that he could probably get a bigger donation out of his couch cushions!)

What have you done or would like to do to raise money for something that’s super important to you?

LEMONADE STAND DISASTER!

Art For Nikki's Diary July 10th

OMG!!!

Do you remember when I made those goals for the summer? And one of them was to have a lemonade stand and raise money for Fuzzy Friends??

LOL!!!

If I’d had ANY idea how that would turn out, I would have dug all the change out of the couch cushions and donated THAT instead! It would have been WAY less stressful and probably more money, too!!

So first of all, when Brianna saw the sign I’d made that said “LEMONADE STAND: ALL PROCEEDS GO TO FUZZY FRIENDS” she FREAKED. I mean red-alert meltdown!

The lemonade stand was HER IDEA, which meant all proceeds should go to HER!! At least, according to Brianna. She doesn’t even know what proceeds are. But she figured out the main idea and she had OPINIONS!

Finally, she agreed to split the money half way. I figured that would be okay, because if something’s for charity, people usually spend more anyway.

So then we started to make the lemonade and you are NOT going to believe this, but we were out of sugar! (I know, I KNOW, we should have just bought already-made lemonade! But Brianna wanted to squeeze the lemons, which actually meant she wanted to squeeze half a lemon and then leave me to do all the rest of them.)

When I realized we were out of sugar, my mom REFUSED to go back to the store. She was madly trying to read an entire book for a book club meeting that night. Way to leave things to the last minute, Mom! ☹

So I sent Brianna next door to ask Mrs. Wallabanger for some sugar. I couldn’t go myself, because I was still squeezing the lemons! Brianna came back with a Tupperware full of sugar, I dumped it into the lemonade, and we headed outside.

We got all set up and right away, a lady walking a dog came around the corner.

“Oh! A lemonade stand!” She acted like we were giving away puppies or something.

“Fifty cents, please,” Brianna said.

The woman pulled a dollar bill out of her pocket. “I think your lemonade looks like it’s worth more than that,” she said. “Keep the change.”

SWEET! Brianna snatched the dollar and I poured the woman’s lemonade.

“You kids are such hard workers,” she said, right before she took a giant gulp…

…and then SPIT IT OUT ALL OVER US!!

What the HECK??

The woman was sputtering in outrage and SO WAS I. Before I could figure out what happened, she said, “That was a NASTY trick!” and marched off!!

I wanted to run after her, but Brianna was starting to whimper.

“It’s okay, Brianna,” I said, handing her some napkins. “Don’t worry about that mean old lady.”

She wasn’t actually old. But clearly her HEART was all shriveled up into nothing!

“Hey, you guys!”

Brianna and I looked up from wiping ourselves off to see Mrs. Wallabanger’s grandson, Max. “Grandma said you guys were having a lemonade stand. Got any left for me?”

He waved a dollar bill in front of us. This time, Brianna hesitated. But she couldn’t hold back and snatched the dollar bill again.

I still hadn’t gotten over the crazy spitting-lady, but I was glad Max had showed up to distract Brianna. I poured him a cup of lemonade.

He grinned and took a sip, and then his grin VANISHED. He looked like he’d just swallowed a bug. Or WORSE! I started to get an uneasy feeling in my stomach.

“Um, thanks,” he choked. “This is delicious.” Then he hurried back toward his grandma’s house.

“Max, wait!” I called. He turned, but didn’t come back to the table. “What is it? Is something wrong with the lemonade?”

He stared at the ground. “Um, it’s…great. I’m sure you guys worked hard on it…”

Brianna grabbed the pitcher and sloshed some into a cup. She took a swallow and then SHE SPIT IT OUT ON ME TOO!! ☹

Was I wearing a sign that said PLEASE SPIT HERE?!

“GROSS, NIKKI!” she screamed. “What did you PUT in that??”

I took her cup and sipped.

OMG! It was like swallowing ocean water! With lemons! And extra salt!!

Max crept back toward the table. “I think maybe…you put in salt instead of sugar?”

I turned to Brianna. “What did you say when you asked Mrs. Wallabanger for sugar?”

Max laughed. “Oh, you asked Grandma? You know she’s basically deaf, right?”

I DID know that.

I dropped my head down onto the folding table. Which was sticky with spit-out lemonade. Gross!

“Hey, no worries,” Max said. “My grandma’s got a bunch of lemonade concentrate in her freezer. We could mix it up and POW! You’ll be back in business!”

At that point, I was DONE with the lemonade business. But Brianna looked so happy with Max’s suggestion that I couldn’t say no.

So Max saved the day. We made $13.50, and Max refused to take any of the profits. I ended up with a whole $6.75 to donate to Fuzzy Friends.

But hey! It’s an excuse to call Brandon up, right? I have something very important to give him, after all! 🙂 (I don’t have to mention that he could probably get a bigger donation out of his couch cushions!)

What have you done or would like to do to raise money for something that’s super important to you?
July 9, 2017

I CAN’T STOP WATCHING YOUTUBE VIDEOS!!

brandon_post_photos_81

Dear Brandon,

I have this obsession and it’s getting REALLY BAD. I’m obsessed with watching YouTube videos. Because of my obsession, I hardly get any sleep at nights from staying up past three every morning watching them. I seriously need your help with this! How on earth can I get over my crazy Youtube obsession?

YouTube Fanatic

Dear YouTube Fanatic,

Hey, thank you for writing in about this. That took guts. I hope what I have to say will help you. But I know it will help someone, because you are FOR SURE not the only person with this problem. It might not be YouTube for everyone—some people can’t stop posting on Instagram, Snapchatting, checking Facebook, tweeting or binge-watching Netflix. I think the internet is amazing for a lot of things—I mean, here you are asking me for help through a website! But yeah. There are definitely some ways it can be harmful, and this is one of them.

You used the word obsession, which is a good one. But I think what you’re talking about here is also an addiction. We think about addiction as being about drugs or alcohol. But addiction doesn’t have to be just those two things. You can be addicted to anything that takes over your life in an unhealthy way.

And, it sounds like that’s what’s happening here. If you feel like you don’t have control over how much time you spend on YouTube, then it’s probably an addiction.

Here are a few more signs of an addiction:

  1. Even when you’re not watching YouTube videos, are you thinking about getting back online and what you want to watch next?
  2. Do you get frustrated, anxious, or irritable when something prevents you from doing it?
  3. Have you stopped spending time with friends or doing other things you used to enjoy because you want to spend all your time watching YouTube? (And in this case, sleeping is something you enjoy, or at least need, which you’ve stopped doing as much as you should.)
  4. Do you keep watching videos even after you see negative results from your behavior (like being exhausted the next day)?

Are you going to die from an overdose of YouTube videos? Um, no. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not serious. The loss of sleep could cause poor concentration, irritability, and major exhaustion. And during the school year, I’m sure it’s not good for your grades or even your relationships. So, you need to take it seriously before it REALLY complicates things.

The first thing you need with an addiction is HELP. This might mean a therapist. You might be thinking I’m WAY overreacting and they’re just some silly videos. But if you Google “teen internet addiction” you’re going to find all sorts of serious information and resources. Because this is no joke!

But before you need a therapist’s help, let’s start with your parents. I know you might be worried they’ll get mad at you when you admit how late you’ve been staying up. But I think they’ll eventually be really proud of you for recognizing the problem and asking for help.

Here are some things your parents could consider doing:

    1. Install apps that monitor how and when you’re using the internet, or apps like Freedom that shut off access to the internet between certain hours. These apps can also block specific websites.
    2. Turn off the wi-fi or change the wi-fi password at a certain time each night.
    3. Let somebody take your phone/tablet/computer at a certain time each evening so that you can get some sleep, and then have them return it to you in the morning.
    4. Give somebody access to your YouTube account so they can see what you’re watching and when.
    5. Set up a reward system for when you successfully reduce the time you spend on YouTube, which will give you a positive goal to work towards. (Aside from, you know, sleep.)

I know this sounds really restrictive and controlling. But it won’t be forever. You just need help getting a handle on it right now, because it’s out of control. Once you’ve gotten things under control, you’ll learn how to use the internet in a more healthy way.

I hope this is helpful, because like I said, this is a big problem for a lot of people. So thanks for having the guts to bring it up!

Have you ever felt like you can’t stop doing something? How do you not overdo it?
July 6, 2017

I’M AFRAID OF LOSING MY BFF!

Art For Ask Nikki July 5th

Dear Nikki,

My friend and I have been besties since like, FOREVER.  So whenever someone else wants to be friends with her, I get really upset because I’m afraid she’ll start liking that person better than me, and we won’t be besties anymore!  What should I do?

Fretful Friend

Dear Fretful Friend,

I’m so glad that you have someone you can call your bestie!

I know that before I met Chloe and Zoey, I was an absolute mess.

And when I say mess, I mean MESS!!

But those two were willing to help me and accept me for who I was. And I was more than happy to do the same for them!

So, I know that it must be hard to share your friend, especially since she was YOUR BFF FIRST. You may feel betrayed, lonely, or jealous.

And it’s understandable to feel that way, but there’s no reason to act on those feelings! Trust me on that!!

Imagine if I got upset when Chloe and Zoey started liking other people as friends. That would not only be very controlling for me, but it would also make me seem like a terrible person. I know that if they’re friends with other people, it’s for a good reason!

I also look at it this way—if Chloe and Zoey didn’t befriend other people, I wouldn’t really get to know others besides Chloe and Zoe. Even though we’re besties, I’ve expanded my friendship circle A LOT because they have other friends.

So, just because your bestie is friends with other people doesn’t necessarily mean that you both won’t be besties anymore.

My advice is to let her be friends with whomever she wants. Having multiple friends is a great thing and nothing to be worried about.

And, just because she becomes best friends with someone new doesn’t mean you can’t still be her best friend anymore.

Who knows, maybe all three of you will become besties (just like me, Chloe and Zoey)!

I’m pretty sure that if your bestie likes other people, it’s because they have a lot in common. And because she’s already best friends with you, there’s a pretty good chance that you will also like whoever it is.

I also know that it’s still kinda hard to share. But just remember that sharing is caring! 🙂

Your BFF should be allowed to make her own decisions. Besides, it doesn’t seem like she’s making new friends to get rid of you. It just seems like she enjoys getting to know other people.

Just let her know how you feel. You don’t have to outright say, “I’m your BEST friend! Nobody else before me!!” But, tell her how much you appreciate being her best friend, and keep on doing the stuff that you enjoy together. Like, go and watch your favorite movie or bake something tasty. That way, the time you spend hanging out will reaffirm the awesome friendship that you have.

And, maybe the other friend she has will also like that same movie, and that same tasty snack. Next thing you know, YOU’LL have another bestie!! 🙂

What would you do if your best friend began hanging out with other people? Would you feel insecure, or look at it as an opportunity to make even more friends?
July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!!

dorkdiaries-4thofjuly

SQUEE!!! It’s the 4th of July!

HAPPY
INDEPENDENCE
DAY!

Will you watch the fireworks with your friends?
July 2, 2017

July Calendar – Summer Fireworks

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July 1, 2017

CAN A GUY READ DORK DIARIES??

brandon_post_photos_80

Hey Brandon!
Ok, call me a scaredy cat or whatever. I want to read Dork Diaries, but I’m a boy and think that people will make fun of me because it’s a girl book! I’ve read The Misadventures Of Max Crumbly (you know, your friend) and I LOVED it. What’s your opinion? Should I read Dork Diaries too?

Can A Dude Dig Dork Diaries?

What’s Up Can A Dude Dig Dork Diaries,

Dude, I have a question for you. What is a girl book? Like, does the book wear a dress? Does it use the girl’s locker room at school?

There’s this weird thing we do where we say guys shouldn’t read “girl books.” But nobody has a problem with girls reading “guy books.” I mean, we don’t even think of books as “guy books.” But books with a main character who’s a guy? Books that are pretty action-oriented? For example, Percy Jackson or Harry Potter. NOBODY calls those guy books or says it’s weird if girls read them. Why??

I think it’s because girls are expected to read books about boys (and watch TV shows and movies about them too) and figure out how to relate to them. But boys aren’t asked to relate to girls in books or movies. And I think that can become a problem beyond books and movies. Because books and movies are a great way to learn about how the other half thinks, and develop empathy for things they experience. Girls are kind of expected to have empathy for guys, but nobody asks boys to develop empathy for girls.

Sorry, that kind of went a little deeper than whether or not you should read Dork Diaries. But YES, you totally should. First of all, because they’re awesome and hilarious. Second, because they’re not specifically for girls OR guys. And third, maybe even most important, because reading outside your own experiences can help you grow as a person.

That goes beyond just boy vs. girl books, too. Reading books with main characters who are a different race, religion, or who have a disability are all things that help you see beyond your own experiences. And look, if we only ever read books about people like us, how boring would that be?

Okay, with all of that said, I do know you’re in a tricky position when you’re worried about other people’s opinions. Because you should TOTALLY read Dork Diaries. But, can I promise that no one will make fun of you because of it? No.

I mean, I hope not. If they do, they’re close-minded jerks. And they’re probably pretty insecure about themselves. Plus, they don’t know much about what makes a good book. So they might lash out, because kids say and do dumb things sometimes.

I think you’ve got two options.

  1. You could read the book at home. OR…
  2. You could confidently read the book wherever people will see it and shrug off the haters, if they give you a hard time. Act like THEY’RE the crazy ones. You could say, “Why wouldn’t I read Dork Diaries? It’s hilarious, man! Plus, it gives me insight into girls. Now back off, I’m trying to read.”

I’m not saying one way is right and the other is not. Because only you know your situation. If you’re vulnerable to bullies, you have every right to take care of yourself. Just know that there’s nothing wrong with what you choose to read, and if you need to read it privately, then you do you.

But if you have high self-esteem and can withstand a few jabs, think about reading out in the open. You might give others the confidence to like what they like, and even help somebody rethink what makes a “girl book” or a “boy book.”

It’s your choice. But what I can definitely say is YES, you SHOULD read Dork Diaries! 🙂

Have you ever avoided a book, movie or TV show because you thought it was only for guys or for girls? Do you think guys can enjoy Dork Diaries?