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’
Born January 6 in Chicago, IL
Forklift driver, coach (sports), musician, high school computer
Inspiration for writing
The past, the future, the struggle for a happy ending!
. . . foods Mexican (spicy!); chocolate (dark!)
. . . clothes to wear Sneakers, shorts, and sweatshirts
. . . colors Emerald green with a splash of midnight blue
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Follow along with Wendelin Van Draanen as she kicks off her first ever
Blog Tour on Monday, May 31st.
Wendelin will visit 7 blogs from May 31-June 7, and will make her own blog the final
stop as she talks about how the Sammy Keyes series came to be, how she comes up with the quirky characters in her book, what’s next for Sammy, and more. The blogs will also call out the new Crack the Code with Sammy Keyes activity on our Wendelin Van Draanen site.
May 31st: Where the Books Are
June 1st: Steph Su Reads
June 2nd: Through A Glass, Darkly
June 3rd: Mrs. Magoo Reads
June 4th: The Children’s Book Review
June 5th: Write for a Reader
June 6th: Mundie Moms
June 7th: Library Lounge Lizard
June 8th: Wendelin’s Jog Blog
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Click here to find out
about Wendelin Van Draanen's school visits!
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Copyright © 1995-2008 Random House, Inc. All rights reserved
Illustrations copyright © 2004 Brian Biggs
Illustrations copyright © 2004 Dan Yaccarino
Illustrations copyright © 2004 Robert Krogle