Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Wendelin Van Draanen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1965 in Chicago, Illinois


-- Blog -- http://etrtr.blogspot.com/
-- Blog -- http://www.blogger.com/profile/02534698736990684819
-- Website -- http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/vandraanen/content/author.html
-- Website -- http://exercisetherighttoread.org/
-- Wendelin Van Draanen on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=wendelin++van+draanen+


Illinois Connection

Van Draanen was born Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Wendelin Van Draanen's family moved to California when she was very young and still resides there today. A former high-school math and computer science teacher, she has written ore than thirty novels for young readers and teens including her Edgar-winning ''Sammy Keyes'' series. Her book, ''Flipped'', was named a Top 100 Children's Novel for the 21st Century and became a Warner Brothers feature film in 2010. Besides being a prolific writer, Wendelin also coordinates the ''Exercise the Right to Read'' campaign with her husband, Mark Parsons.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaway
ISBN: 0375823506

Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2005

The bad news: Sammy’s made a deadly mistake.
The good news: No one knows she did it.
The delicious dilemma: Everyone thinks her archenemy Heather is to blame.
Now Heather’s in a major jam, and in some ways it’s only fair–Heather’s pinned more than a few crimes on Sammy. Besides, there are distractions galore to keep Sammy from confessing. Like the end of the school year. And the Farewell Dance. Especially the dance, because she’s going with Heather’s brother, Casey. But Sammy knows that the truth has an uncanny way of resurfacing, and when it does, the stench can be more vile than the junior high cafeteria. . . .

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief
ISBN: 0679892648

Yearling. 1998

Sammy Keyes must be a magnet for trouble...


I mean it's bad enough that she has to live illegally in a seniors-only building with her grandmother while her mother tries to make it as a move star. And worse that she witnessed a burglary in progress--and that the theif saw her. And worse still that nosy neighbor Mrs. Graybill is onto her, and that the thief is after her. But on top of all that, she also manages to make an enemy of the queen of mean at her new school and get suspended on the first day.

Welcome to the wild world of Sammy Keyes!


Praise for the Sammy Keyes series:


“Sammy Keyes is feisty, fearless, and funny. A top-notch investigator!” —New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton


“The sleuth delights from start to finish. Keep your binoculars trained on Sammy Keyes.” —Publishers Weekly


“Sammy Keyes is the hottest sleuth to appear in children’s books since Nancy Drew.”—The Boston Globe

Shredderman: Meet the Gecko
ISBN: 0375823530

Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2005

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 who is evil! Sneaky! A liar! So Nolan vows to expose the truth on Shredderman.com. After all, superheroes have to stick together in the fight for truth and justice. Oh, yeah!

Runaway
ISBN: 0375835229

Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2006

"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 older and wiser now--she's twelve--and this time she gets away clean.

Through tough and tender and angry and funny journal entries, Holly spills out her story. We travel with her across the country--hopping trains, scamming food, sleeping in parks or homeless encampments. And we also travel with her across the gaping holes in her heart--as she finally comes to terms with her mother's addiction and death.

Runaway is a remarkably uplifting portrait of a girl still young and stubborn and naive enough to hold out hope for finding a better place in the world, and within herself, to be.

Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things
ISBN: 0375835253

Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2007

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

This is not the summer camping trip of Sammy's dreams. She imagined shady glades, meandering streams, a deer or two. What she gets are scrubby shrubs, blazing sun, rattlesnakes, ticks, and scorpions. Her fellow campers are desperate to catch a rare glimpse of an endangered condor. To Sammy, the trip is nothing more than the painful in pursuit of the unspeakably ugly.

But when she and two other girls find an injured condor, Sammy's intrigued at last. As they track down a clue, they stumble onto two classmates and wind up lost. Which leaves three girls and two boys in a canyon with one tent and six billion biting flies. Oh—and an armed and dangerous highstakes poacher.

S'mores anyone?


The Sammy Keyes mysteries are fast-paced, funny, thoroughly modern, and true whodunits. Each mystery is exciting and dramatic, but it's the drama in Sammy's personal life that keeps readers coming back to see what happens next with her love interest Casey, her soap-star mother, and her mysterious father.

Flipped
ISBN: 0375825444

Ember. 2003

Celebrating 15 years of Flipped—a classic he-said-she-said romantic comedy!

This updated anniversary edition offers story-behind-the-story revelations from author 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. Juli says: “My Bryce. Still walking around with my first kiss.” He says: “It’s been six years of strategic avoidance and social discomfort.” But in the eighth grade everything gets turned upside down: just as Bryce is thinking that there’s maybe more to Juli than meets the eye, she’s thinking that he’s not quite all he seemed.


This is a classic romantic comedy of errors told in alternating chapters by two fresh, funny voices.

The updated anniversary edition contains 32 pages of extra backmatter:

essays from Wendelin Van Draanen on her sources of inspiration, on the making of the movie of Flipped, on why she’ll never write a sequel, and a selection of the amazing fan mail she’s received.


Awards and accolades for Flipped:


SLJ Top 100 Children’s Novels of all time
IRA-CBC Children’s Choice
IRA Teacher’s Choice
Honor winner, Judy Lopez Memorial Award/WNBA
Winner of the California Young Reader Medal


“We flipped over this fantastic book, its gutsy girl Juli and its wise, wonderful ending.” — The Chicago Tribune


“Van Draanen has another winner in this eighth-grade ‘he-said, she-said’ romance. A fast, funny, egg-cellent winner.” — SLJ, Starred review


“With a charismatic leading lady kids will flip over, a compelling dynamic between the two narrators and a resonant ending, this novel is a great deal larger than the sum of its parts.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred review

Shredderman: Secret Identity
ISBN: 0440419123

Yearling. 2006

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 been the bane of Nolan’s existence for five long years. So when Mr. Green asks the class to become reporters, Nolan decides he’ll write an exposé—on Bubba. He doesn’t want to sign his name to it (that’d be suicidal), so Nolan creates a secret identity for himself—on the Internet. He launches Shredderman.com as a place where truth and justice prevail—and bullies get what’s coming to them.

This hilariously triumphant story is for any kid who’s ever dreamed of unleashing their own inner superhero!

Shredderman: Attack of the Tagger
ISBN: 0440419131

Yearling. 2006

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 identity is a secret, everyone still treats Nolan like . . . a nerd.

But inside this nerd beats a superhero’s heart—one dedicated to truth and justice. So when a vandal spray-paints graffiti around town—and even on his teacher’s van!—Nolan decides that tracking down the tagger is a job for Shredderman.

But while he’s trying to trap the tagger, the tagger is trying to pin the blame on Shredderman! Can Nolan turn the tables back around before his secret identity is revealed?

The Gecko and Sticky: The Greatest Power
ISBN: 0440422434

Yearling. 2011

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 a strangely clad crook in the act of robbing a bank. But of course somebody does. That somebody is Dave Sanchez, and the crook is none other than the dastardly Damien Black, fresh out of prison and back to his villainous ways. But Dave and his gecko sidekick, Sticky, are on the case, and this time they have a trick up their sleeve--literally! It's an Aztec wristband that give its wearer powers like invisibility and flight. Asombroso, right? But power alone does not a superhero make, and they'll have to learn how to use it if they want to defeat their nemesis not once--but twice.

Don't miss all the Gecko & Sticky adventures:
1. The Villain's Lair
2. The Greatest Power,
3. Sinister Substitute
4. The Power Potion


From the Hardcover edition.

The Running Dream (Schneider Family Book Award - Teen Book Winner)
ISBN: 0375866280

Ember. 2012

When Jessica is told she’ll never run again, she puts herself back together—and learns to dream bigger than ever before. The acclaimed author of Flipped delivers a powerful and healing story.


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 about walking when you live to run?


As she struggles to cope, Jessica feels that she’s both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don’t know what to say act like she’s not there. Jessica’s embarrassed to realize that she’s done the same to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she’s missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.


With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that’s not enough for her now. She doesn’t just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her.


“Inspirational. The pace of Van Draanen’s prose matches Jessica’s at her swiftest. Readers will zoom through the book just as Jessica blazes around the track. A lively and lovely story.” —Kirkus Reviews

Confessions of a Serial Kisser
ISBN: 0375842497

Ember. 2009

Does the perfect kiss exist? This smart and funny modern romance from the author of Flipped explores the pleasures and perils of love. Perfect for fans of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.


Evangeline Logan wants a kiss. Not just any kiss—a “crimson kiss,” like the one in a romance novel she’s become obsessed with. But the path to perfection is paved with many bad kisses—the smash mouth, the ear licker, the “misser,” the tentative tight lipper.


The phrase “I don’t kiss and tell” means nothing to the boys in her school. And worse: someone starts writing her name and number on bathroom walls. And worst of all: the boy she’s just kissed turns out to be her best friend’s new crush.


Kissing turns out to be way more complicated than the romance novels would have you believe. . . .


“Evangeline’s strong, entertaining voice will pull plenty of readers, who will root for their heroine as she begins to piece together a grown-up life.” —Booklist



“The pacing is near-perfect: readers realize, just when Evangeline does, that it is not a kiss she is [really] after. In the end, the playful title and premise are matched by tender and convincing storytelling.” —Publishers Weekly

Swear to Howdy
ISBN: 0440419433

Yearling. 2005

A funny friendship turns serious in this haunting book about secrets, lies, and what it means to be a true friend.


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. Luckily, Rusty Cooper knows how to keep a secret. Joey is the best friend Rusty’s ever had, and he’s not going to mess with that. But then comes a secret that is at once too terrible to tell and too terrible to keep. A secret so big it threatens to eat them alive. What would a true friend do now?


Wendelin Van Draanen has written a richly layered book that offers a thought-provoking look at the boundaries of friendship and what it really means to be true.


“Triumph and tragedy mix in a compelling country tale of boys being boys.” —Kirkus Reviews


“A poignant, thought-provoking novel that will strike a chord with young readers hooked by the boyish antics of the early chapters, later to be emotionally drawn to the honest portrayal of characters struggling with the consequences that follow every action.” —Midwest Book Review

Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye
ISBN: 0375870555

Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2014

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. She’s forever sniffing out clues and chasing down bad guys—and driving her friends a little nuts. She’s gone up against thieves and counterfeiters and gangsters and blackmailers and murderers, and always stayed one step ahead.


Until now.


Last night, one of the bad guys caught up.


Last night, someone followed Sammy up the fire escape and pushed her from the third story.


Now she’s in the hospital, out cold. And her friends are left with the questions Sammy’s always been so good at answering: Why? How? But most of all . . . WHO?


In this emotional conclusion to her beloved long-running series, Wendelin Van Draanen shows just how many lives one nosy girl can touch and pays tribute to a life well sleuthed.


Praise for Sammy Keyes:
“If Kinsey Millhone ever hires a junior partner, Sammy Keyes will be the first candidate on the list. She’s feisty, fearless, and funny. A top-notch investigator!” —Sue Grafton


“Sammy’s brave, resourceful, observant and a loyal friend, but this girl sleuth is no well-mannered Nancy Drew. She’s endearingly hot-tempered, nosy, and not always obedient—in short, she’s someone I want to read about again.” —Margaret Maron

Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise
ISBN: 0307930629

Yearling. 2014

"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 when the heiress to a perfume empire disappears from the ship, it turns out everyone's in for a rocky ride.

In this penultimate book in the Sammy Keyes mystery series, Wendelin Van Draanen pays homage to the mystery genre. This book is a classic locked-room whodunnit—Sammy Keyes style.

The Sammy Keyes mysteries are fast-paced, funny, thoroughly modern, and true whodunits. Each mystery is exciting and dramatic, but it's the drama in Sammy's personal life that keeps readers coming back to see what happens next with her love interest Casey, her soap-star mother, and her mysterious father.


From the Hardcover edition.

The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones
ISBN: 1101940409

Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2016

"Lincoln Jones is a loner who prefers to keep his head down and use writing as a way to escape the trials of daily life at his new school. As he and his mother struggle to start over, Lincoln's attempts at invisibility are thwarted by a fellow sixth grader, a girl who shows him that he's got a lot to offer as a friend. Strong characters who value humor, perseverance, and compassion will particularly appeal to readers adapting to middle school." - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor

A 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.


My secret life is filled with psychic vampires, wheelchair zombies, chain-rattlin’ ghosts, and a one-eyed cat. But they’re nothing compared to my real-life stalker: a sixth-grade girl named Kandi Kain. . . .


Lincoln Jones is always working on the latest story he’s got going in his notebook. Those stories are his refuge. A place where the hero always prevails and the bad guy goes to jail. Real life is messy and complicated, so Lincoln sticks to fiction and keeps to himself. Which works fine until a nosy girl at his new school starts prying into his private business. She wants to know what he’s writing, where he disappears to after school, and why he never talks to anybody. . . .


The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones is a terrifically funny and poignant story about a boy finding the courage to get to know the real characters all around him—and to let them know him.


Praise for The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones:

Winner of the Josette Frank Award

"Van Draanen's engaging story is characterized by clever writing, a palpable affection for her characters, and a deep understanding of what's important about life. Readers will love Lincoln Jones."—Kirkus Reviews

"Van Draanen skillfully wraps up her tale, offering a realistically happy ending. A story with a perfect balance of mirth and poignancy." -- School Library Journal

"Lincoln is a delightful narrator." -- Booklist


Awards

'''''Shredderman: Secret Identity'''''

Christopher Medal for “affirming the highest values of the human spirit.”

Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education

Editors Choice, Booklist

Cuffie for Best New Series

Best Book of the Year, Child Magazine '''''Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief'''''

Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children's Mystery'''''Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Mustache Mary'''''

Quick Pick title, YALSA '''''Sammy Keys and the Hollywood Mummy'''''

Quick Pick title, YALSA '''''Sammy Keys and the Art of Deception'''''

Mystery Book of the Year, Disney Adventures '''''Flipped'''''

Top 100 Children's Novel for the 21st Century, School Library Journal

Children's Choice Book, IRA/CBC

Teacher's Choice Book, IRA/CBC

Young Reader Medal Winner in the states of California, Nevada and Virginia'''''Swear to Howdy'''''

Outstanding Achievement Award, Parent's Guide'''''The Running Dream'''''

Master List, Rebecca Caudill, 2014

Schneider Family Award, ALA

ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2014

Top 10 BFYA Book, YALSA

Junior Library Guild Selection

Top Ten Books, Amazon, 2011

Bank Street Best Book

Young Reader Medal Winner, in the states of Vermont, Utah, South Carolina and Nebraska

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Please see her website for additional information.