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Wendelin Van Draanen

Biography

Wendelin Van Draanen

Books have always been a part of Wendelin Van Draanen's life. Her mother taught her to read at an early age, and she has fond memories of story time with her father, when she and her brothers would cuddle up around him and listen to him read stories. 

Growing up, Van Draanen was a tomboy who loved to be outside chasing down adventure. She did not decide that she wanted to be an author until she was an adult. When she tried her hand at writing a screenplay about a family tragedy, she found the process quite cathartic and from that experience, turned to writing novels for adults. She soon stumbled upon the joys of writing for children. 

Feedback from her readers is Van Draanen's greatest reward for writing. "One girl came up to me and told me I changed her life. It doesn't get any better than that," she said. Van Draanen hopes to leave her readers with a sense that they have the ability to steer their own destiny-that individuality is a strength, and that where there's a will, there's most certainly a way. 

Her first book was published in 1997, and since then her titles have been nominated for State Award Master Lists all over the country. Now in its tenth installment, the Sammy Keyes Mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children’s Mystery four times in six years, with SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF bringing home the statue. Additionally, she has won the Christopher medal for SHREDDERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY, and the California Young Reader Medal for FLIPPED. Her books have been translated into many foreign languages, and have been optioned for film and television projects. She lives in California with her husband and two sons. Her hobbies include the “Three R’s”: Reading, Running and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Wendelin Van Draanen

Books by Wendelin Van Draanen

by Wendelin Van Draanen - Children's 8-12, Family, Fiction, Friendship

Lincoln Jones is always working on the latest story he’s got going in his notebook. Those stories are his refuge. A place where the hero always prevails and the bad guy goes to jail. Real life is messy and complicated, so Lincoln sticks to fiction and keeps to himself. Which works fine until a nosy girl at his new school starts prying into his private business. 

by Wendelin Van Draanen - Mystery

Sammy doesn’t go looking for trouble, but she seems to find it everywhere. She’s forever sniffing out clues and chasing down bad guys—and driving her friends a little nuts. She’s gone up against thieves and counterfeiters and gangsters and blackmailers and murderers, and always stayed one step ahead. Until now.

by Wendelin Van Draanen - Youth Fiction

Sammy knew that getting to know her new dad on a cruise would be a little uncomfortable...But when an heiress disappears from the ship, it turns out everyone's in for a rocky ride.

by Wendelin Van Draanen - Children's 10+, Mystery

In this pivotal book in the Sammy Keyes series, Sammy tackles the persistent mysteries of her own life. Mysteries like: Who is her father? And why has her mother kept it such a secret? How long can she manage to hide out in Grams' seniors-only building before someone catches on? Is her mother really planning to marry her boyfriend's father? (Ew.) And why, why is Heather Acosta so nasty?

by Wendelin Van Draanen - Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult 10+

Sammy thought she'd seen all the weirdness her town had to offer --- and then she met Justice Jack, Santa Martina's very own superhero. He's really just a guy in spandex and a mask who rides around town on a dirt bike, hoping to find some crime to fight. The old folks in town have asked him to track down Sammy's neighbor Mrs. Wedgewood, who seems to have disappeared --- along with a lot of other people's cash.

by Wendelin Van Draanen

In her newest adventure, junior high detective Sammy Keyes and her friends take a detour through a graveyard on Halloween night and find themselves in the middle of a mystery. Sammy must figure out how three missing people, two human skulls, and one ghoulish embalmer add up before she winds up six feet under herself!