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 been nominated for State Award Master Lists all over the country. Now in its tenth installment, the Sammy Keyes Mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children’s Mystery four times in six years, with SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF bringing home the statue. Additionally, she has won the Christopher medal for SHREDDERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY, and the California Young Reader Medal for FLIPPED. Her books have been translated into many foreign languages, and have been optioned for film and television projects. She lives in California with her husband and two sons. Her hobbies include the “Three R’s”: Reading, Running and Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Wendelin Van Draanen