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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

Does the perfect kiss exist?

This smart and funny modern romance explores the pleasures and perils of love. A great book for fans of romantic reads like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.
 
...



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.”...

Runaway

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

This diary of a runaway girl and her search for a home celebrates hope, resilience, and happy endings as only Wendelin Van Draanen, the author of Flipped and other acclaimed novels, can.
 
Holly has run away before, but...


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...

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...

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

A funny friendship turns serious in this haunting book about secrets, lies, and what it means to be a true friend.
 
“Rusty, I swear to howdy, if you tell a soul...”
 
Joey Banks is a...



The Gecko and Sticky: The Power Potion

By: Wendelin Van Draanen
illustrated by: Stephen Gilpin

The Gecko & Sticky are a fabulous crime-fighting duo! This quartet of funny adventures will appeal to fans of superheroes both young and old, and would make terrific all-family read-alouds.


Dave Sanchez, crime-fighting...


The Gecko and Sticky: Sinister Substitute

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

The Gecko & Sticky are a fabulous crime-fighting duo! This quartet of funny adventures will appeal to fans of superheroes both young and old, and would make terrific all-family read-alouds.

Dave Sanchez's most despised teacher, a gleeful...


The Gecko and Sticky: Sinister Substitute

By: Wendelin Van Draanen
illustrated by: Stephen Gilpin

The Gecko & Sticky are a fabulous crime-fighting duo! This quartet of funny adventures will appeal to fans of superheroes both young and old, and would make terrific all-family read-alouds.

Dave Sanchez's most despised teacher,...

The Gecko and Sticky: The Greatest Power

By: Wendelin Van Draanen
illustrated by: Stephen Gilpin

The Gecko & Sticky are a fabulous crime-fighting duo! This quartet of funny adventures will appeal to fans of superheroes both young and old, and would make terrific all-family read-alouds.

"Don't move a muscle!" shouts...

The Gecko and Sticky: Villain's Lair

By: Wendelin Van Draanen;illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

The Gecko & Sticky are a fabulous crime-fighting duo! This quartet of funny adventures will appeal to fans of superheroes both young and old, and would make terrific all-family read-alouds.

Dave Sanchez is an average boy with an after-school...


The Running Dream

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

An award-winning and inspiring novel.  When Jessica's dreams are shattered, she puts herself back together—and learns to dream bigger than ever before.

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident....

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....

The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

Award-winning author Wendelin Van Draanen gives us a brilliantly fresh and funny story about a boy learning to become the brave hero of his own life. Perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and The Fourteenth Goldfish.
 
...


The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

Award-winning author Wendelin Van Draanen gives us a brilliantly fresh and funny story about a boy learning to become the brave hero of his own life. Perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and The Fourteenth Goldfish.
 
...

The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones

By: Wendelin Van Draanen

Award-winning author Wendelin Van Draanen gives us a brilliantly fresh and funny story about a boy learning to become the brave hero of his own life. Perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and The Fourteenth Goldfish.
 
...