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Photo Gallery | Children's Book Author Visits Hometown Elementary School


In honor of American Education Week, K-5 students at Fort Washington’s Potomac Landing Elementary School welcomed their favorite children’s book writer, Jeff Kinney, who was once a Potomac Landing student and based a lot of his writing on the experiences he had there. 

Kinney is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which illustrates a young child’s struggles and interesting experiences through middle school. He is a Fort Washington native who attended the University of Maryland. While in college, he created a comic strip for the campus newspaper.

 “Though The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are fictional, I’ve always felt like they were set in Fort Washington. My whole frame of reference as a kid comes from this area, and it’s really fulfilling to be able to show where my story ideas came from and see places from my childhood,” explained Jeff Kinney.

The students who filled the school gymnasium were overjoyed by Jeff Kinney’s appearance as all of them had read the multiple books and saw the movie.

Jeff Kinney inspired the students at his former elementary school and made sure they knew that it wasn’t easy to publish a book, after all it took him 14 years; but he reminded the students that with hard work, determination, and a lot of creativity anything was possible. He answered many of the student’s questions and introduced the actor’s who starred in The Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie.

As I was leaving the gymnasium a young student asked author Jeff Kinney if he could have a picture with him. Kinney smiled and agreed while the boy’s mother thanked Kinney for his books saying “They were the only way I could get my son to read much less like what he was reading.”

Another Fort Washington mom said her son’s reading level was a little low, but after reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid, he began to enjoy reading and his reading level increased.

“I was taking a class on developing reading skills in kids where they told us to pick an author that the kids would like. I chose Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid because my older son was a big fan. My young son started to read it, and due to the graphics, his reading skills increased because they have to go from caption to caption. He has the entire series including Cabin Fever, which just came out, and Mr. Kinney signed. I had to come and meet him and thank him for getting my child’s scores up,” said Sabrina Burroughs.

Author, Jeff Kinney was very excited to come back to Potomac Landing Elementary, but was surprised to hear parents thank him for his fun and creative books.

“A mother told me that my books are the reason that her kid got into reading and that’s just really fulfilling to me. I didn’t set out to write for kids, but the fact that kids are using my books as a gateway to reading is just really exciting. It makes me think that something bigger than me and the books are at work here,” Kinney said.

Kinney is on a book tour for the highly anticipated sixth installment of the series, Cabin Fever, which was released yesterday, Nov. 15.