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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 won many awards. Now in its sixteenth installment, the Sammy Keyes Mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children’s Mystery five times, with Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief bringing home the statue. Additionally, she has won the Christopher medal for Shredderman: Secret Identity, the California Young Reader Medal for Flipped, and the Schneider Family Book Award for The Running Dream. Her books have been translated into many foreign languages, Shredderman became a Nickelodeon made-for-TV movie, and Flipped was released as a feature film, directed by Rob Reiner. She lives in California with her husband and two sons. Her hobbies include the “Three R’s”: Reading, Running and Rock ’n’ Roll. 
 
Fun Facts
Born January 6 in Chicago, IL 
 
Previous Jobs
Forklift driver, coach (sports), musician, high school math and computer science teacher 
 
Inspiration for writing
The past, the future, and the struggle for a happy ending!
 
Favorites
. . . food: sushi
. . . clothes to wear: Sneakers, shorts, and sweatshirts
. . . colors: Emerald green with a splash of midnight blue


Author Bookshelf

Confessions of a Serial Kisser

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

EVANGELINE LOGAN WANTS a kiss. A spectacular, heart-stopping, life changing kiss. Somehow The Crimson Kiss (a romance novel she’s become obsessed with) and Four Steps to Living Your Fantasy (a self-help...

Flipped

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

The first time she saw him, she flipped. The first time he saw her, he ran. That was the second grade, but not much has changed by the seventh. She says: “My Bryce. Still walking around with my first kiss.” He...

Runaway

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"It's a cold, hard, cruel fact that my mother loved heroin more than she loved me."

Holly is in her fifth foster home in two years and she's had enough. She's run away before and always been caught quickly. But she's...


Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

After being chased by a man wielding a shovel, scared silly by a mummy, and attacked by Heather Acosta, Sammy...

Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

Sammy should have known better than to think 8th grade would be easier than 7th. It's only September and...

Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

The artsy crowd thinks Sammy Keyes has a lot of nerve showing up at a fancy reception in high-tops. But...


Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

Sammy Keyes has three wads of cold hard cash in her hot little hands. An old guy gave them to her....

Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

When Sammy and her friends meet Lucinda Huntley walking her 200-pound pig down the middle of the road,...

Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaway

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

The bad news: Sammy's made a deadly mistake.
The good news: No one knows she did it.
The delicious...




Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

When Sammy finds out that her mother has changed her name, dyed her hair, and shaved ten years off her...

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

What Sammy should have done was put the binoculars down and call 911. What she does instead is tighten...

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

It's Sammy's birthday, which should be a good thing, except that Dorito, Sammy's cat, is missing, and while...


Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

The Christmas parade gets furry in a hurry when three pranksters dressed as wise men toss some cats onto...

Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

Sammy's softball team is in contention for the Junior Slugger's Cup, and all she wants to do is hunker...

Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

Sammy was working off some junior high detention time by helping out at St. Mary's, but now she's the prime...


Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

After the skeleton plows them over, Sammy and her friends look to see what he was running from....

Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book ReviewThis is not the summer camping trip of Sammy's dreams. She imagined shady glades, meandering streams,...

Shredderman: Attack of the Tagger

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

Nolan Byrd single-handedly saved his school from the bullydom of Alvin “Bubba” Bixby. He posted proof of Bubba’s exploits on the Web at Shredderman.com. Now Shredderman is the school hero! But since Shredderman’s...


Shredderman: Enemy Spy

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

Shredderman.com just made the national news! Everyone is talking about the new cyber-superhero. Oh yeah!

But now people are dying to know who is behind Shredderman.com. Reporters are snooping all over Cedar Valley! Oh no!

Nolan's...



Shredderman: Meet the Gecko

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

Even superheroes have problems. That’s what Nolan discovers when he meets Chase Morton, the boy who plays his favorite TV superhero on The Gecko and Sticky. Chase is being hounded by a sleazy tabloid reporter...

Shredderman: Secret Identity

By: Wendelin Van Draanen
illustrated by: Brian Biggs

Alvin Bixby: Hulking, knuckles of steel, hideous breath, foul temper. Kids call him: Bubba.

Nolan Byrd: Puny, power walker, math genius, can’t keep shoes tied. Kids call him: Nerd.

Bubba has...




Swear to Howdy

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

Joey Banks is a walking adventure. He’s funny, daring, mischievous—and frequently in trouble. Or he would be if anyone found out about half the stuff he’s done. But Rusty Cooper knows how to keep a secret....

The Gecko and Sticky: The Power Potion

By: Wendelin Van Draanen;illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

Dave Sanchez (aka The Gecko) and his pet gecko (aka Sticky) are back in their fourth dangerous encounter with the dastardly treasure hunter Damien Black!
 
Thirteen-year-old Dave Sanchez is a daytime student, an after-school...

The Gecko and Sticky: Sinister Substitute

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

Dave's most despised teacher, a gleeful frog dissector named Ms. Veronica Krockle, is absent. Her students are psyched! But Sticky is suspicious. Especially when the substitute teacher turns out to be strangely interested in geckos....


The Gecko and Sticky: Sinister Substitute

By: Wendelin Van Draanen
illustrated by: Stephen Gilpin

Dave's most despised teacher, a gleeful frog dissector named Ms. Veronica Krockle, is absent. Her students are psyched! But Sticky is suspicious. Especially when the substitute teacher turns out to be strangely interested...

The Gecko and Sticky: The Greatest Power

By: Wendelin Van Draanen
illustrated by: Stephen Gilpin

Could you choose between a superpower and a friend?

The evil treasure hunter Damien Black needs some quick cash—so he robs the local bank. But Damien Black didn’t figure Dave Sanchez into his plan....

The Gecko and Sticky: Villain's Lair

By: Wendelin Van Draanen;illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

Dave Sanchez is an average boy with an after-school job and a pet gecko named Sticky. All very normal—until the day Sticky talks. Sticky tells Dave a wild tale of a former life of crime, searching for Aztec gold with a treasure...


The Running Dream

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

Winner of the 2012 Schneider Family Book Award

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares...

Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

Sammy thought she'd seen all the weirdness her town had to offer—and then she met Justice...

Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

In this pivotal book in the Sammy Keyes series, Sammy tackles the persistent mysteries of her own life. Mysteries...


Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review

Sammy knew that getting to know her new rockstar dad on a cruise would be a little uncomfortable. . . . But...

Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

The final mystery starring Sammy Keyes: “the most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)” —Midwest Children’s Book Review
 
Sammy doesn’t go looking for trouble, but she seems to find it everywhere....