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In real life the phrase, “get a clue” wouldn’t necessarily be a complimentary one. But in the life of fictional super-sleuth Nancy Drew, it’s a staple in everyday life.
May begins the celebration of icon Nancy Drew’s 80th birthday. This fictional teenager was hip, fun-loving, popular, responsible and also an amateur sleuth. If she were a real person, she would be 98 years old! This wildly popular series was created in the 1930’s and supposedly written by author Carolyn Keene. The series was incredibly popular and to date there have been more than 500 books written involving teenage sleuth, Nancy Drew. This character remains a generational favorite with today’s readers.
But who is Carolyn Keene, author of the Nancy Drew mystery stories? And how did it all begin? I remember many rumors as a child that Carolyn Keene was not a real person and the series was actually ghostwritten. Lo and behold, I’ve now discovered that was true!
It all began with Edward Stratemeyer, a writer and publisher of books for kids. He had so many exciting ideas he didn’t have enough time to write them all. So he hired writers called ghosts to bring his stories to life. So truth-be-told, the Nancy Drew books were written by ghost writers and Stratemeyer gave all of them the name Carolyn Keene. The main creative force behind this prolific series was a young woman named Mildred Wirt Benson. She was born in 1905 and grew up in a small town in Iowa. A tomboy, Mildred craved adventure and often joined the boys playing sports. One of her favorite things to do was read. She read everything she could get her hands on from classic books to kids’ books like Peter Rabbit and Little Women. (source-LA Times)
In summary, Stratemeyer asked Mildred to write “The Secret of the Old Clock” -the first Nancy Drew book. Bensons did so and began to form the mystery “formula” that is so prevalent in the series. Benson then wrote the second and third books in the series; “The Hidden Staircase” and “The Bungalow Mystery,” which were published 1930 when Benson was only 24. She would go on to write 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew books (volumes 1-7, 11-25 and 30).
Nancy Drew became a hit and by 1934 was outselling boys’ series like the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift. Now, 80 years later, there have been more than 500 Nancy Drew mysteries written and no end in sight for America’s favorite teenage sleuth.
Over the last few weeks, not only have I read quite a bit of wonderful information about this delightful series, I’ve noticed many, many adult readers piping up with a mention of their favorite Nancy Drew books along with just as many comments about, “I still have my series from childhood!” Many of us who were Nancy Drew fans in our younger years still have our collections and have saved them for the sole purpose of passing them on to our own kids. I just love the fact that this iconic series is not only quality reading for young minds, but also have become “keepsakes” for generations of families to enjoy.
So with that in mind I wish to rally all Nancy Drew readers young and old! I would love to see YOUR Nancy Drew books/collections, learn which ones were your favorites and hear how they have become a valued asset in your life. For the rest of May, I invite readers to share photos of their favorite Nancy Drew books along with the hashtag #DrewToYou on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. What a fun way to share a piece of your life and your love of books with thousands of like-minded readers!
I am very excited to not only see your favorite Nancy drew picks, but I have planned to highlight some of the best ones in my weekly Jump Into a Book series Weekend Links.
So get ready to, “show us your Drew!” #DrewToYou
More Nancy Drew resources and articles can be found HERE
Let’s celebrate the wonderful upturn in the weather with a Super Spring Sale! I have two of my most popular books on a super special sale until May18th!
The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook: The Simple Step-by-Step guide to creating a Waldorf-inspired #homeschool. And for a limited time, this best-selling book by Donna Ashton, The Waldorf #Homeschool Handbook is now only $17.95 until May18, 2015 ! http://amzn.to/1OhTfoT
Enjoy more month-by-month activities based on the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! A Year in the Secret Garden is a delightful children’s book with over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. AND, it’s on sale for a limited time! Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” http://amzn.to/1DTVnuX
Your choice, $17.95 each!