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February 19, 2018


When the doorbell rang, I just figured it was a package. My mom’s been having insomnia lately, and when she can’t sleep, she orders some seriously weird stuff online. It’s kind of entertaining to see what she buys!

But it wasn’t a delivery. It was a Girl Scout. She had a wagon full of cookie boxes at her side.

“Would you like to buy some cookies?” she said. She wasn’t much bigger than Brianna—maybe eight. Her mom was untangling herself from a giant dog’s leash on the sidewalk. She gave me a little wave.

“Oh, hi!” I gave her a big smile. “You know, those cookies look great! But…I don’t have any cash.”

Her chin wobbled. “They’re only $5 a box.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s a great price! It’s just that I really don’t have any money on me right now…”

I mean, okay, maybe that was a bit of a fib. I had some cash in my bedroom, but that was my own money, and I didn’t really feel like spending it on cookies.

“But I haven’t sold any,” she whispered, and a single tear rolled down her cheek.

I looked at her mom for help, but now she was getting out a plastic bag to deal with her dog’s poop.

“Wait a minute!” That’s when I remembered that my mom keeps a stash of cash in this jar on the counter. There’s always a wad of cash in it for tipping pizza delivery people. Or in this case, emergency Girl Scout cookies, I guess. “I do have cash! Stay right there!”

I ran to the kitchen, dug into the jar and pulled out the wad of cash. I raced back to the door, where the girl wasn’t crying anymore, but her chin WAS still wobbling. I don’t know why I didn’t just buy a box or two like a normal person. I panicked, okay?! I shoved all the money at her.

She counted it with wide eyes, then she turned and hollered at her mom, “How many boxes is fifty dollars?”

‘Ten boxes!” her mom called with a little cheer. “That’s my little saleswoman!”

What was I going to do then? Say, “Never mind, I only want one”? So I picked out what kind I wanted and she walked away with a much lighter wagon.

Ten boxes of cookies! I considered hiding them somewhere so my mom wouldn’t know what I’d done. But she’d notice the money was missing, and probably think I spent it on something selfish. At least this was for a good cause! It just happened to come with a delicious pay-off!

So I arranged the boxes on the counter and waited.

When Mom got home and saw the boxes, she looked confused at first. And then she started laughing. She laughed so hard, she cried!

“Mom?” I said. “Are you okay? Would a thin mint help? Because I’ve got plenty!”

She reached into the grocery bags she was carrying and pulled out…Girl Scout cookies! She had six boxes!!

“There were girls selling them at a booth outside the grocery store!” she chuckled. “I couldn’t say no!”

“Yeah…me either.” I grinned sheepishly.
That’s when my dad got home. The first words out of his mouth were, “Okay, I can explain. Just hear me out.”

That’s when Mom and I turned and saw what HE was carrying – an armful of Girl Scout cookie boxes!!


He’d been working on a house with a pest problem, and he told them he was going to need to exterminate their whole house, which meant they had to move out for a few days. And the little girl who lives in the house was really upset, and he saw her Girl Scout sash right there on the kitchen table, and to distract her, he started asking about it and one thing led to another…

He’d bought six boxes. Which meant that between us, we had 22 boxes of Girl Scout cookies!!!

So like, I maybe could have been a little cooler under pressure. But I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t resist the lure of the Girl Scout cookie! 🙂

What’s something that you simply can’t resist? Tell us all about it in the comments!
February 18, 2018


Hey Brandon,
Now that I’m in middle school, things have changed.  Everyone has crushes and are into the latest fads. They also have tablets, cell phones and all the other latest technology. I kind of feel like they’re growing up faster than I am, since I’m not really into that stuff. What should I do?

Worried That I’m A Weirdo

Hey Worried That I’m A Weirdo,

Dude.  First of all, you DO NOT have to worry because you’re definitely not a weirdo. Secondly, I think your letter is super interesting. I get lots of letters from kids who don’t have a phone but WANT one. Or who don’t have a crush, but WANT one. But it sounds like you don’t really want these things. You just want to make sure you’re normal like other kids your age.

I totally get it. When it seems like “everyone” is doing something that you’re not, it’s easy to feel like…well, a weirdo.

I think it’s important to remember first of all that NOT everyone is into the latest fad, or has the latest technology or a crush. The ones who are into that kind of thing may talk about it a lot, but I GUARANTEE you there are other kids who feel just like you do.

I don’t think they’re growing up faster than you are. You’re just interested in different things. That doesn’t mean you’re weird, immature, or whatever. And it definitely doesn’t mean you should go changing just to be like them.

It just means that you need to hang out with people who are into the same things that you are. I’m sure they’re around. You’ll feel less alone if you’ve got friends who also aren’t into crushes, the latest technology or fad.

Now, I’m not saying drop your current friends if they’re into fads, crushes and stuff. You can totally stay friends with them and have different interests. Just try to focus on the things you have in common. And you can listen when they talk about what they’re into. That’s just part of being a good friend. And if they’re good friends, they’ll let you talk about your interests too.

I don’t usually share two letters in one column, but this letter was so closely related to yours that I did.  Here it is:

Hi Brandon!
Lately, it seems like everyone is crushing on someone. Is it so wrong that I don’t even know what it’s like to have a crush, and don’t really WANT one?
Loveless Loner

So, like you, Loveless Loner isn’t into crushes. And in lots of ways, my advice to you is the same for her. But I noticed something slightly different in her letter. 

Unlike someone who isn’t ready for a crush YET, she has NEVER had a crush and doesn’t WANT a crush, and wonders if it’s wrong. 

It’s not. 

Everywhere we turn, we’re slapped in the face with the never-ending message that romance is important. We hear it in music.  We also see it in books, movies and TV. Heck, since it was just Valentine’s Day, we see it all over stores, too!

Having a crush is definitely NOT the most important thing, and for some people, it’s not important at all. There ARE people who are just never into crushes. They have lots of meaningful relationships with friends and family, but crushes are just things they’re not interested in. And that’s TOTALLY OKAY.

So if that’s you, I know it’s hard not to compare yourself or wonder if you’re weird, but you’re NOT. Put your energy into whatever matters to YOU. And honestly, be glad that you’re a free spirit, because free spirits don’t worry what other people think.  Free spirits are just that:  Free to live life however they choose. 🙂

Do you ever feel like your interests don’t match up with the kids around you? How does that make you feel? Tell us in the comments!
February 14, 2018


Hi Nikki!

My two best friends and I used to take theater lessons together.  But now, they’re both in ballet and my mom won’t let me switch so that I can join them. I love theater, but I’m starting to feel like a third wheel because they’re constantly practicing ballet without me!  How do I convince my mom to let me do what they’re doing?

Left Out

Hi Left Out,

I know exactly how you feel! Me and my BFFs Chloe and Zoey ALWAYS do stuff together. If it’s ever just the two of us, then the other one feels left out.

So it’s a total bummer that your BFFs aren’t in theater with you anymore. And I can understand wanting to take ballet so you don’t feel like you’re missing out.

But like, if you LOVE theater, I’m not sure this is the best reason to give it up. Even if you feel left out sometimes, your friends are going to be your friends, whether you do the same after-school activities or not. You might need to make an extra effort so you don’t drift apart, like scheduling regular sleepovers, doing more texting/video chatting, or establishing a fav hangout spot where you and your BFFs could meet every week. It also might be fun to support each other in your different activities—you go see their ballet recitals, while they come see your plays!

Try looking at things from your mom’s perspective, too. Starting a new activity is a HUGE commitment. It might also be expensive. It’s not just the cost of classes. But it also brings with it the cost of uniforms, gear, etc.

Aside from the money, there’s also the time commitment. You might start with one class. But if you commit to that new activity, you’ll be expected to take more and more classes. I know some girls who take like six or seven classes a week!  As you could probably guess, they don’t get much free time to do what they want.

So the point is, starting any new activity takes A LOT of work. That might explain why your mom doesn’t want to sign you up for ballet just so that you can hang out with your friends.

PLUS, it sounds like you love theater. But for whatever reason, you’d probably have to give that up to do ballet, right?

So, you should think hard about WHY you really want to do ballet. It’s a major activity you shouldn’t really start unless you feel passionate about it. Would you want to do it, even if your friends weren’t? If so, try convincing your mom about how passionate you really are. But if not…then I think it’s more important to work on ways to strengthen your friendship with your BFFs, even as you guys are no longer doing the same afterschool activities together.

Because that’s part of growing up! We develop different interests from our friends. And that’s okay! We can still be friends, support each other, and learn from each other. Our friendships get even stronger as we make more of an effort to stay close! 🙂

Have you ever felt left out when your friends did an activity you weren’t into? Or felt bummed when a friend dropped an activity you still loved? Tell us in the comments!
February 13, 2018

New game: Dream Guy Maker

Play Nikki’s latest game by mixing ingredients to create your Dork Diaries dream guy!

New game: Dream Guy Maker

Play Nikki’s latest game by mixing ingredients to create your Dork Diaries dream guy!

February 12, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

February 10, 2018


Hey Brandon!

At my school, we have assigned seats during lunchtime and I’m forced to sit next to this girl who drives me NUTS! She’s loud, rude, and totally obnoxious. How do I make her stop so that I can eat in peace?!

Lousy Lunch

Hey Lousy Lunch,

Wow. Your school has assigned seating for LUNCH? I mean, I assume it MUST. Because otherwise I’d just tell you not to sit by her!

But since you HAVE to sit by her (which is a bummer), I think the main thing to address is this:

How do I make her stop so that I can eat in peace?!

Short answer: You can’t. I mean, the thing is you can’t ever force someone to change his or her behavior. You can only change YOUR reaction to it. She is who she is. But here are a few things that might help you deal with it:

  1. HEADPHONES: I mean, it’s a little anti-social, but if she bugs you enough, you could put on headphones and listen to music or an audiobook, or even just noise-cancelling white noise.
  2. COMPASSION: Ask yourself WHY she is how she is. Is she always like that or is it when she’s just at lunch? Does she have something like ADHD that might be a part of her behavior? If she does, it might be somewhat out of her control. Just be aware of stuff like that.
  3. TRY TALKING TO OTHER PEOPLE: Make conversation with the other people you sit around. Don’t IGNORE this girl, exactly, but try not to let her antics ruin your lunch. Smile and nod at whatever she’s doing, and then go back to your calmer conversation with other kids around you.
  4. TRY TALKING TO HER: This is kind of the opposite of what I said before, but it sounds like she wants attention. And sometimes our natural reaction to someone who wants attention is to NOT give it to them. Like, we don’t want their attention-hogging behavior to pay off for them. Except…if they want attention, it’s probably because they’re missing it somewhere else in their life. So maybe before she gets too crazy, you could ask her genuine questions about her life or her opinion on stuff. Get her TALKING before she feels the need to balance a lunch tray on her head or something.
  5. BREATHE: I mean, duh. Please breathe, or you’ll die. But especially when you’re feeling super annoyed, doing slow, calming breath exercises can be surprisingly helpful.
  6. AND HANG IN THERE: It’s not forever. It’s super annoying, but it WILL end. Think of it as character building. You’re going to be soooo patient after surviving this! 🙂

If none of these things work and this is just a really impossible situation, you could consider talking to your teacher, lunchroom monitor or whoever’s in charge of the seating assignments. Talk to them about the steps you’ve taken, and ask if you can be moved. I mean, hopefully you won’t be told “no,” but be prepared just in case you are. In these situations, it seems like teachers usually tell us to work it out or learn to live with it. They think they’re preparing us for later in life when we have annoying co-workers, roommates or whatever.

But if they say yes, you should also be prepared to explain why you moved, especially since the girl you’re trying to move from might wonder what happened. You’ll probably hurt her feelings if you say, “I asked to be moved because you’re an annoying wacko!” So maybe have a kinder reason prepared, like “I just wanted somewhere different to sit.”

I hope these suggestions help!

Hey readers, how do YOU handle a super annoying person you’re forced to interact with?
February 7, 2018


Dear Nikki,
I just blabbed to my BFF’s crush that I liked him right before she was about to ask him to the school dance. And now, I feel like such a TRAITOR!  What should I do?

Total Traitor

Hi Total Traitor,

Okay, this is not good. But I want to thank you for being honest about what you did. A lot of people write me about terrible things other people have done to them (which is fine, since people need advice on that). But, people don’t write much to admit the terrible things they’ve done to other people unless they’re SUPER BRAVE. So you’re super brave, because you know you did something crummy and you’re not afraid to admit it.

So, um…I going to be really honest with you too. I’m afraid that what you just did could really upset your BFF. I’m not trying to make you feel worse, I just really want you to sort things out with her before it hurts your friendship!

Here are a couple things that you could do…

First, you HAVE to make things right with your BFF. If she doesn’t already know what you did, you need to come clean. Please don’t try to cover things up. She’ll find out eventually and it’ll be WAY worse if you tried to lie. You need to admit how uncool it was to tell her crush you liked him before she could ask him to the dance. Then, just say you’re sorry. Please do not make any excuses. That’s important. You were wrong and you have to admit it fully, or she may not trust your apology.

Second, ask her if there’s anything you can do to make things right with her. Now, there is a slight chance that she might not know how. Or, she might forgive you right away. She might even need some time and space to be upset about the whole thing, but fingers crossed that this won’t happen! You have to respect however she responds, because of what you did.

But the good news is that if SHE ever messes up (because we all do sometimes), she will remember how you handled things and hopefully she’ll handle things the same way…willing to apologize and make up for it.

Okay, so about the guy. Sounds like you’re kind of crushing on him too, right? But, you knew your BFF liked him first? Ultimately, it’s up to him how he wants to handle this, but if he still wants to go to the dance with your BFF, please don’t feel bad. Crushes don’t last forever. Besides, it’d probably be A LOT easier on you AND your BFF (AND your crush!) if you started liking a guy your BFF doesn’t like!

Truth be told, it looks like you’re more interested in a clear conscience than trying to steal your BFF’s crush away.  So, keep on trying to be the kind of BFF you’d want her to be to you, and remember: SISTERS BEFORE MISTERS! 🙂

Have you ever done something terrible to your BFF? Did you confess? How did you make it right? Tell us in the comments!
February 5, 2018



I was studying for my big Bio quiz when Brianna came running into the room, screaming her head off.

Brianna has a very vivid imagination. So, you NEVER know whether she’s making something up or when she really means it.

“Oh no,” I mumbled, nonchalantly flipping a page in my Bio book. “Whatever will we do?”

“I’m not pretending, Nikki!” Brianna screeched. “I’ve looked everywhere! I found a doggy treat in my sock drawer and I wanted to give it to her, but I CAN’T FIND HER!!”

“She’s probably on Mom’s bed.” I replied without looking up. I HAD to read this chapter again or I would never pass tomorrow’s Bio quiz!

Brianna went running off toward Mom and Dad’s bedroom, but she was back in a second. “No Daisy,” she reported. “Just Mom taking a nap because she has a cold!”

“Well…check the backyard.”

That didn’t seem too likely because I hadn’t let Daisy out in hours, and I would have noticed if someone else had. But it bought me a couple minutes of study time before Brianna was back. I couldn’t concentrate because I was starting to worry, too. Daisy had never gotten out before!

When Brianna came back inside, she was shrieking even louder. “She’s not there, Nikki!” she wailed. “And the back gate is OPEN!!”

That got me out of my chair. Suddenly I was panicking, too!! She’s still a puppy, even though she’s twice as big as when we got her. How did the gate get left open? Did I do that when I took the trash out in the morning? I don’t think Brianna can even reach the latch, so I couldn’t blame her.

“Stay here,” I told Brianna.

I was halfway down the block when Brianna caught up to me. “You need these,” she said, holding out Daisy’s leash and a box of dog treats, which she rattled like a maraca. Daisy usually comes running the second she hears those treats rattling around. What can I say? Sometimes the little brat has some good ideas!

But she didn’t come running no matter how hard we rattled the box. I was totally FREAKING OUT! She was probably cold, scared and…what would Brandon say when he found out I’d been such an irresponsible pet owner?!

“Maybe she went to visit Creampuff,” Brianna suggested.

Apparently Brianna was the brains of this operation. I had used all my brainpower up on Bio, I guess!

We hurried over to Mrs. Wallabanger’s house. No doggies came running at the sound of our rattling treat box, so we knocked on the door.

Mrs. Wallabanger opened the door, holding Creampuff. “Why, hello girls,” she said. “It’s nice to see you, but I don’t need any cookies.”

“Um, what?”

“We’re not selling them,” I said. “They’re dog cookies.”

“Frog cookies? What on earth are frog cookies? They used to only sell the minty ones and the peanut butter ones, but now they have everything!”

“Um, is Daisy here?”

“Lazy? If you’re talking about my grandson, I don’t disagree, but that’s still rather rude!”

“Come on, Brianna,” I said. “If she were here, she would have come to the door. Thank you, Mrs. Wallabanger.”

“If you get some of the mint cookies, I’ll take a box of those,” she called out.

Just then, I got a text. Maybe someone had found Daisy and called the number on her tag. Was MY number on her tag??

But it was just my mom. She woke up and wondered where we were. She needed someone to bring her some hot tea and Kleenex.

“Come on, Brianna, we have to check on Mom.” I figured maybe I should make a missing dog poster. Or call Dad and have him come home, so he could drive us around the neighborhood? Maybe Mom would know what to do.

I made Mom some tea and grabbed a box of Kleenex, while Brianna ran to get her favorite blankie, which she was going to share with Mom (even though it would probably give her like a zillion new germs).

On my way to Mom’s room, I heard Brianna say, “Hey Nikki, look what I found!”

I peeked my head inside Brianna’s room. She was looking into her closet, and the look on her face was a mixture of relief and OOPS!

I hurried in and looked over her shoulder. And there, inside Brianna’s closet, curled up in a pile of stuffed animals, was DAISY!!

“OMG! Has she been there the whole time?!”

“I forgot,” Brianna whispered.

“YOU KNEW SHE WAS THERE?!” I bellowed.

And THAT, my friends, is why I will probably flunk tomorrow’s Bio quiz!


I’m super-relieved that Daisy was safe and sound at home all along!

Have you ever lost something that was really important to you?  Did you find it?
February 4, 2018


Hey Brandon,
This past year, I’ve changed a lot. I used to wear glasses, but now I don’t. I’m wearing makeup, and I’ve lost weight. Before, nobody would ever notice me. But now, I’m popular. And all of a sudden, my crush actually wants to hang out with me! That’s great, but it disappoints me that all of this is only happening because of my looks. Should I go back to the old me?

Pretty, Popular And Puzzled

Hey Pretty, Popular And Puzzled,

Wow, this is tough. I mean, I think the first thing to keep in mind is that you are the same you, no matter how you look. Like, you didn’t become a different person inside when your appearance changed, right? So there’s no “going back to the old you.”

But this is a tough situation. Because I bet it feels nice to be popular, get noticed and have your crush want to hang out with you. But…then you wonder if people like you for who you really are, or if it’s just about how you look.

I don’t think you should assume people only like you because of your looks. I think it’s fair to say that people have noticed you because of your new appearance, and now that they’ve noticed you, they realize how cool you are. They SHOULD have realized that before, 100%. But it’s kind of the way things are? And until they change…I kind of think there’s no reason you should be lonely and unnoticed because society has strange standards of beauty.

BUT, you don’t want to have shallow friendships, either.

The main thing, I think, is that you shouldn’t change anything about how you look OR how you act based on what you think other people want. So you’re totally right – it stinks if people are only treating you well now because your appearance has changed. But if you like how you look now, you shouldn’t change it based on other’s people’s response.

On the other hand, if you changed your appearance so people would notice you, and now it feels icky, definitely go back to however you’re most comfortable. For example, if makeup isn’t really your thing, stop wearing it and go natural. Or, if you like wearing glasses, just wear them. But, if you’re more comfortable with the makeup on and glasses off, don’t be ashamed of it. Own it!

You just might need to be careful with new friendships and only put your energy into friends who clearly enjoy you for who you are, and not for your appearance.

And because you know what it’s like to be ignored because of how you look, you might go out of your way to notice and be nice to everyone. And when people see you being friendly, maybe they’ll be friendly too.

So yeah, I think you should keep your appearance however YOU feel most comfortable, and don’t ASSUME people only like you because of your appearance. Just make sure you’re making REAL friends. And use your powers for good! 🙂

Have you ever been treated differently because of a change in your appearance? How did you handle it? Tell us in the comments!