The Mandie books are a children's historical mystery series written by Lois Gladys Leppard, intended for children aged 8 to 12. Since the publication of the first book in 1983, more than seven million copies have been printed of the Mandie series. There are forty novels in the main series and eight in the junior series, along with several special books. The setting of the series is North Carolina in the early 20th century. The story starts around the year 1900, when Mandie is 11 years old. In every book she finds a mystery to solve with her good friends Joe Woodard and Celia Hamilton.
The main character's full name is Amanda Elizabeth Shaw. Her birth date is given as June 6, 1888. She grew up in a log cabin in Swain County, North Carolina, with her beloved father Jim Shaw, her stepmother Etta, and her stepsister Irene. Mandie knew nothing about her family background until her father died. Mandie was soon sent away to live with the Brysons to take care of their new baby son named Andrew. Then her father's Cherokee best friend Ned Sweetwater came to take her away from her overbearing stepmother and the family who treated her cruelly. Mandie, Uncle Ned, and several Cherokee warriors escorted Mandie to the home of her rich uncle John Shaw, who Mandie had never heard about before.
Mandie is soon reunited with her birth mother, Elizabeth, in Macon County, North Carolina, in a town called Franklin, North Carolina, and learns the truth about her history. Mandie's paternal grandmother was Cherokee. Mandie meets many new friends among the Cherokee people. On one occasion she finds a cave with gold that belonged to a Cherokee warrior, Tsali. In 1901, Mandie goes to a girl's boarding school in Asheville, North Carolina. The school is strict, but Mandie does not care about bending the rules when there is a mystery to solve.
In the last published novel, New Horizons (2006), Mandie and her friends attend college at College of Charleston Ladies' College in Charleston, South Carolina, where Mandie majors in business administration while Celia majors in music, and both minor in English literature and visual art. New Horizons is called "Book One" of the Mandie: Her College Days series, but was the only one to be published before the author's death.
The Mandie books are Christian in theme. Mandie prays when troubled, and attempts to demonstrate Christian virtues of tolerance and compassion. Mandie is proud to be part Cherokee, and she has a diverse group of friends, including a girl with mental retardation. Some critics have noted that the Cherokee and African American characters are at times depicted sentimentally and as speaking in a stereotypical dialect (for instance, Uncle Ned's speech is filled with terms like "happy hunting grounds", "squaw", and "papoose").
Author Lois Gladys Leppard was a Federal Civil Service employee in various countries around the world. She made her home in South Carolina. Leppard died October 5, 2008. Stories of her own mother's childhood are the basis for many of the incidents incorporated in this series.
Young Mandie series
Set before the Mandie series, starting in 1898 when Mandie is 9.
- Who's Mandie? (1999)
- The New Girl (1999)
- The Mystery at Miss Abigail's (1999)
- Merry Christmas from Mandie (2000)
- The Talking Snowman (2001)
- The Secret in the Woods (2001)
- The Missing Book (2002)
- The Haunted Shop (2002)
- New Horizons (2006)
Special Mandie books
- Mandie's Cookbook (1991)
- Mandie and Joe's Christmas Surprise (1995)
- Mandie: My Datebook (1997)
- Mandie: My Diary (1997)
- Mandie and Mollie & the Angel's Visit (1998)
- Mandie and the Secret Tunnel (2009) with Lexi Johnson as Mandie Shaw
- Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure (2010) with Lexi Johnson as Mandie Shaw
- Mandie and the Forgotten Christmas (2011) with  as Mandie Shaw
- Amanda Elizabeth Shaw - Referred to as Mandie by her peers, Mandie enjoys solving mysteries, no matter how mysterious or dangerous the situation may be. She has long blond hair (usually braided), blue eyes, and is said to be quite short by her lifetime friend Joe, though that simply may be just his opinion, for he shoots up quite a bit throughout the series, but it is mentioned in 'Mandie and Fiery Rescue' that she is short for her age. Her favorite color is assumed to be blue. Mandie is a Christian, who stands up for her beliefs and values, though seems to vary from 'honor thy father and thy mother', as she is constantly running off and disobeying her parents. She is quite emotional and gets frustrated when she can't solve a mystery. Mandie longs to grow up throughout the series. Being raised in a log cabin with little more to her name than two hand-me-down dresses and a kitten, she sees everything simply and takes no interest in high society. When sent to a young ladies school to learn social graces, she finds it ridiculous and remains her own lively self. The death of her biological father affects her deeply, leading her to her Uncle John's resulting in the truth as to her biological mother with whom she is reunited. She becomes very attached to her mother who married her Uncle John. Her favorite verse is "What time I am afraid I will put my trust in Thee." Mandie, in most instances has a teachable spirit and will break into tears and ask for forgiveness if convicted, however occasionally she becomes stubbornly jealous of Joe or of her mother's attention and is immovable in her opinions. Sometimes, Mandie tells others that she will not get married, as she will be too busy when she grows older, and she doesn't want to become trapped at home, unlike many of the girls of her time. This assumption clearly irritates Joe, as he obviously likes Mandie, and reminds her every now and then he plans on marrying her. At times, Mandie seems interested in boys, but tends to avoid the topic, even with her best friend Celia. Mandie doesn't give in easily, and sometimes wants to do the jobs that a boy would do, like learning how to use a gun. In the first two movies, Mandie has brown eyes, but in the third, she has blue.
- Joseph Woodard - Known as Joe by almost everyone, he is Mandie's best friend. He has unruly brown hair, brown eyes, and long legs according to Mandie. Being Mandie's only friend who knew her father Jim Shaw (excluding relatives), Joe and Mandie are very close. Because Joe remains living in Swain County after Mandie moves away to Franklin, he promises to care for her father's grave and put flowers there. Joe is a country boy who does not care for much fancy things or money, but is a true friend. He intends on marrying her when he gets her father's property back from her step mother, Etta. He intends on doing this by becoming an attorney at law. He is very jealous when Mandie goes off to visit other male friends, such as Tommy Patton and Jonathan Guyer. He also helps Mandie on solving mysteries, but says that she does most of the work. He loves chocolate cake and is constantly joking around. Joe's father, Dr. Woodard is the local doctor in Mandie's area. Joe has a crush on Mandie, towards the end he tells Mandie he loves her.
- Faith Winters - She is Mandie's best friend in The Young Mandie series. She has long brown hair and lives with her grandmother. Her parents died in a fire.
- Celia Hamilton - Celia becomes Mandie's best friend throughout the Mandie series. She has red hair and green eyes. Her favorite color is green. She goes to the same school as Mandie and helps her solve mysteries. They met when Mandie heard her crying in her room one night. Celia had lost her father shortly before coming to The Misses Heathwood's School. They immediately bonded and asked to share a room together since Celia was alone in a private, normally unoccupied room and Mandie was stuck in a full room.
- Snowball - Mandie's White cat who she's fond of. He follows Mandie everywhere, although she is advised not to take him around all the time. He is constantly running away.
- Dimar Walkingstick - Mandie's Native American friend who is shown to have a crush on Mandie.
- Phineas Prattworthy - A man that Mandie, Celia, and Joe meet in The Mysterious Bells. He was hiding in the Church, and ringing the bell for help. Mandie soon finds that he knew her grandmother, and Joe's father.
- Tsa'ni Pindar Mandie's Troublesome Cherokee cousin.
- Rev. Riley O'Neal - A Man who Mandie meets in Mandie and the Midnight Journey. He shows some affection for her in later books.
- Sallie Sweetwater - Another one of Mandie's Indian friends. Sallie is Uncle Ned's granddaughter. Tsa'ni has a soft spot for Sallie.
- Etta McHan Shaw Hughes - Mandie's over bearing step mother. Shortly after Jim dies Etta gets married to Zach Hughes.
- Irene McHan - Mandie's bratty 13 year old Scottish American step sister.
- Zachary Hughes - Etta's new husband and Irene's new step father. Zach and Etta both agree to send Mandie away to work for the Brysons.
- Elizabeth Taft Shaw - Mandie's biological mother. She is over protective of Mandie because she doesn't want to lose her again, and has blonde hair and blue eyes.
- James Alexander Shaw - Mandie's father. Jim dies before the beginning of the first book. He is said to have had red hair and blue eyes, and to be very fun loving and always looked out for Mandie.
- John Shaw - Jim's older brother and Mandie's uncle and stepfather. He married Elizabeth after Jim died, and is said to resemble her father greatly. He is very wealthy. He has a weakness for blue eyes, like the ones Mandie and her mother have.
- Ned Sweetwater - Jim's best friend. Ned is a Cherokee Native American. He promised to keep Mandie safe and helps get her out of trouble. Ned is Mandie's honorary uncle.
- Windy - Mandie's Orange tabby in the "Young Mandie" series. Mandie is allowed to keep Windy after she does the right thing and returns Windy's mom to her rightful owners.
- Samuel Hezekiah Shaw - Mandie's little brother, named after Samuel Hezekiah Plumbley, a close friend of John and Jim's older sister Ruby, who died when she was 10 years old. At first, Mandie is jealous of Samuel taking up their mother's time, but she learns to love him. When Mandie and her grandmother get back from a tour of Europe, Mandie learns Samuel has died of pneumonia and is very sad.
- Mary Elizabeth Taft - Mandie's rich grandmother, who separated her parents, and seems to have changed drastically from a fussy old lady to a kind, thoughtful grandmother from the first book to the rest of the series, and is revealed in Mandie and Mysterious Fisherman to have felt guilty over it for years, and had always regretted tearing her daughter and granddaughter apart.
- Senator Morton - Mandie's grandmother's close friend. He is a senator from Florida who is first introduced in Mandie and the Washington Nightmare, and later travels with Mandie, Celia and Mrs. Taft in Europe. He is portrayed as kind, smart, thoughtful and in love with Mandie's widowed grandmother. Senator Morton's wife died a couple years before he met Mrs. Taft.
- Tommy Patton - Mandie's friend who attends Mr. Chadwick's School for boys in Asheville. He lives in Charlsetone, makes no secret of his affections for Mandie, and always asks her to accompany him to social events between their schools.
- Jonathan Lindall Guyer III - Mandie and Celia's friend, whom they meet when he runs away from home and stows away on the boat taking them to Europe. He ends up touring Europe with them, and loves adventures almost as much as Mandie does. He shows some signs of affection towards Mandie, and is appears jealous of her friend Joe Woodard. He also loves to tease her.
- Polly Cornwallis - Mandie's next door neighbor, and the first friend she makes after arriving at her Uncle John's house. She helps Mandie solve the mystery of the secret tunnel, but her avid interest in Joe Woodard leaves a constant strain on their friendship. Appears to get on Joe's nerves.
- Miss Heathwood - Miss Heathwood is Mandie and Celia's teacher at the Misses Heathwood's School
- Robert Rogers - Celia's ever constant social partner when the Misses Heathwood's School and Mr. Chadwick's School get together. Robert appears to have a crush on Celia and Celia has a crush on him
- "I cannot go to the College of Charleston without you, Celia,"
- Roberta Teague Herrin and Sheila Quinn Oliver, Appalachian Children's Literature: An Annotated Bibliography, McFarland and Company, 2009, pages 158–161