Wendelin Van Draanen

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Wendelin Van Draanen /ˈwɛndəlɪn væn ˈdrɑːnən/[1] (born January 6, 1965) is an American writer of children's and young-adult fiction.


Van Draanen was born in Chicago, Illinois. One of her very early influences was Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. According to the author, the book was "about the magic of growing up and [it] reminded me of all the wonderful mischief my brothers and I got into when we were young." Bradbury's work inspired Van Draanen to write How I Survived Being a Girl, which was published by HarperCollins in 1997.[2] Other early influences include Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Encyclopedia Brown. In college, the Van Draanen family business was burned down, leading to financial hardship. Wendelin turned to writing to alleviate stress and she published her first book in 1997, titled How I Survived Being a Girl.[3]

Van Draanen is the daughter of two chemists who immigrated from the Netherlands. Before she became a full-time writer she was a high school math teacher and computer science teacher.[4]

Van Draanen lives in San Luis Obispo, California with her husband Mark Parsons and two sons, Colton and Connor.[4]

Selected works[edit]

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, which inaugurated the Sammy Keyes series in 1998, won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America in 1999.[5]

Runaway, a companion book to the Sammy Keyes series, is about a girl named Holly who tries to escape from her latest foster home.

In 2004 and 2005 Van Draanen wrote Shredderman, a four-book series for younger readers about a fifth grade boy who assumes a secret identity to help him win the battle for truth and justice.

She also wrote the standalone teen romance Flipped in a he-said she-said style, with the two protagonists alternately presenting their perspective on a shared set of events. The two protagonists Bryce and Julianna are neighbors. The book was made into a Warner Brothers feature film directed by Rob Reiner in 2010.

WorldCat participating libraries report works by and about Wendelin Van Draanen that encompass roughly 70+ works in 370+ publications in 12 languages and 51,000+ library holdings.[6]

Shredderman series[edit]

  • Shredderman 1: Secret Identity (2004)
  • Shredderman 2: Attack of the Tagger (2005)
  • Shredderman 3: Meet the Gecko (2005)
  • Shredderman 4: Enemy Spy (2006)

Sammy Keyes series[edit]

The series has been published by Knopf imprints of Random House, primarily With 18 books in total. Knopf Books for Young Readers.[5]

  • Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief (Aug 1998) – 1999 Edgar Award, Best Juvenile Mystery[5]
  • Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man (Apr 1998)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy (Oct 1999)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf (May 2000)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary (Feb 2001) – Edgar nominee, Best Juvenile[5]
  • Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy (May 2002)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes (Apr 2003) – Edgar nominee, Best Juvenile[5]
  • Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception (2003) – Edgar nominee, Best Juvenile[5]
  • Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Apr 2006)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaway (2005)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things (May 2007) – Edgar nominee, Best Juvenile[5]
  • Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash (Oct 2008)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher (Oct 2010)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls (Oct 2011)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack (Jul 2012)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City (Jan 2013)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise (Sep 2013)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye (Sep 2014)

The Gecko & Sticky (2010)[edit]

  • The Gecko & Sticky: The Greatest Power (2009)
  • The Gecko & Sticky: Villain's Lair (2009)
  • The Gecko & Sticky: Sinister Substitute (2009)
  • The Gecko & Sticky: The Power Potion (2010)


  • How I Survived Being a Girl (1997)
  • Flipped (2001) – adapted as the 2010 feature film Flipped
  • Swear to Howdy (2003)
  • Runaway (2006), based on a character introduced in the Sammy Keyes series – Lone Star Book List, 2007–08[7]
  • Confessions of a Serial Kisser (2008)
  • The Running Dream (2011) – Lone Star Book List, 2011[7]
  • The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones (2016)
  • Wild Bird (2017)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dutch name, see "a recording introducing and pronouncing Wendelin Van Draanen by herself".
  2. ^ Newman, Patricia (May 2002). "Who Wrote That? Featuring Wendelin Van Draanen". California Kids!. Valley Community Newspapers (Sacramento, CA). Reissued by the writer (patricianewman.com). Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  3. ^ Kumar, Lisa, ed. (2010). "Van Draanen, Wendelin". Something about the Author. 207. Gale. pp. 167–71. ISBN 9781414442204.
  4. ^ a b "Wendelin Van Draanen". Goodreads (goodreads.com). Retrieved 2014-04-20. Author profile with "some recent posts imported from her feed" (71 from December 30, 2012).
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Edgar Awards throughout time", or "Search the Edgar Award Winners and Nominees" (Edgars Database search form). Mystery Writers of America (The Edgars.com). Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  6. ^ "Van Draanen, Wendelin". WorldCat Identities.
  7. ^ a b "Lone Star Reading List". Texas Library Association (txla.org). Retrieved 2014-04-20. With "Master List" (MS Excel) for download, comprising annual lists of 20 books from 1990–91 to present.
  • "Spring Attractions: Children's Authors Talk about New Projects and What's on the Horizon". (April 1, 2002). Publishers Weekly, pp. 24–26

External links[edit]