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Published 18th Sep 2018

design your own comic strip with the literacy trust

The National Literacy Trust and Penguin Random House have launched an exciting comic strip competition, as part of the Read North East campaign. It gives pupils across the region the opportunity to meet globally loved children’s author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Jeff Kinney, at a multi-schools event, and win books for their school.

Over 500 pupils across the North East will also be invited to attend the free event with Jeff Kinney, taking place on 16 November in Newcastle as part of the UK stop-off on his global tour for the thirteenth book Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown. Each child will be gifted a copy of the new book as part of the event.

Over 10 million copies of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series have been sold in the UK, with the thirteenth title in the series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown, set to release on 30 October. The books are loved for their quirky illustrations and are known to inspire even the most reluctant of readers to engage in the hilarious stories of Greg Heffley, his friends and family.

National Literacy Trust research shows that while 72% of children ages 8-18 in the North East enjoy reading, only 40% say they read every day outside class. There is also a significant gap between the number of boys and girls who enjoy reading (69% of boys, compared with 78% girls).

The Read North East competition is open to children in Years 3 to 6 (aged 7 to 11). For the chance to meet Jeff, along with their classmates, and win a box of Diary of a Wimpy Kid books for their school, pupils are asked to:

• Design their own three-panel Zoo-Wee-Mama comic strip inspired by those that appear in Jeff’s books
• The comic strip should be about something funny that happens when returning to school after the summer holidays
• It should include speech bubbles to show when a character is talking and characters and scenes drawn in a cartoon style
• The story should end the strip with the main character shouting “Zoo-Wee Mama!” as in the books

Jeff Kinney, who ran his own newspaper comic strip while studying at the University of Maryland, will be visiting North East England in November as part of his global tour for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown. One lucky competition winner, along with his or her classmates, will meet Jeff at a multi-schools event in Newcastle during his visit. Five runners up will also bag a box of Wimpy Kid books for their school.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said:
“We know that the high-energy plots and illustrations found in comic books can really help to engage children who aren’t naturally enthusiastic readers. The Read North East Diary of a Wimpy Kid competition gives pupils the chance to get creative, using inspiration from Jeff Kinney’s much-loved books, which have inspired thousands of children to fall in love with reading. We can’t wait to see the comic strips that pupils across the region create!”

Francesca Dow, MD for Penguin Random House Children’s, Penguin Random House said:
“We’re so excited to bring Jeff Kinney, one of our best-loved authors, to Newcastle. It’s the perfect way to build on the work we’ve been doing in partnership with Read North East over the last year, donating thousands of books to local families and sharing the fun of reading with the irrepressible Wimpy Kid.”

Jeff Kinney said:
"The work that the National Literacy Trust is doing in the UK to promote literacy is so very important and this is a cause I feel very passionate about. I hope that my event my event in will particularly help inspire children who may have had fewer opportunities to develop a love for reading.”

Read North East is a campaign from the National Literacy Trust and the North East Literacy Forum of which Diary of a Wimpy Kid publisher Penguin Random House is a member. Since its launch in October last year, the campaign has gifted thousands of free books to families at shopping centres, football clubs and large-scale events to promote reading for enjoyment and help raise the region’s literacy levels.

To find out more about entering the competition, visit

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