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Juvenile Books Author of the Month
Donald J. Sobol
4 October 1924 -- ???

Donald J. Sobol was born on October 4, 1924 in New York City to Ira J. and Ida (Gelula) Sobol. He attended the Ethical Cultural Schools in the city for his primary education. He graduated from the Fieldston School in New York City in 1942.

During World War II, Sobol served with the Army Corps of Engineers in the Pacific Theater. When he was discharged in 1946 after three years of service, Sobol attended Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the college in 1948. Sobol also attended the New School of Social Research in New York from 1949 to 1951.

Sobol had never considered being a writer until he took a short-story writing course in college. Even then, he waited several years before making writing his profession. His first job was as a copy boy for the New York Sun. It was a position he took in 1948. He worked his way up the ranks until he was a journalist at the paper. In 1949, Sobol became a journalist at the Long Island Daily News, where he worked until 1951.

In 1953, Sobol became a buyer at Macy's department store in New York City, but he did not stay there long. After little more than a year, he quit his job to get married. He married Rose Tiplitz in 1955. Rose is an engineer. Sobol lives with his family in Miami, Florida. When Sobol quit his job as a buyer, he decided to start writing full time. He has since written more than 60 books.

He and Rose had four children. They had a daughter named Diane. Their three sons are named Glenn, Eric, and ohn. Unfortunately, Glenn died at a young age.

In 1959, Sobol started writing a syndicated series called "Two Minute Mystery." The series was incredibly popular and lasted until 1968.

It was in 1963, that Sobol started the project for which he is most famous. That was the year that Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective was first published. The "Encyclopedia Brown" series has continued to keep schoolchildren on their toes for more than thirty years.

Over the years, Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown, Sobol's main character, has solved intriguing cases involving everything from dead eagles to disgusting sneakers. Each book in the series contains ten mysteries presented in readable sentences and enhanced with witty puns and other verbal jokes. Solutions to each case are printed in the back of the book, but readers are encouraged to solve the cases themselve, reading carefully, and using a variety of methods, including deductive reasoning, psychology, and careful observation of physical evidence.

Ten-year-old Leroy Brown is called "Encyclopedia" because he is so smart that he seems to know everything you would find in a set of encyclopedias. Sobol once said, "Readers constantly ask me if Encyclopedia is a real boy. The answer is no ... He is, perhaps, the boy I wanted to be -- doing the things I wanted to read about but could not find in any book when I was ten." [2]

Sobol has received letters from stumped readers for many years. In 1990, students in a Philadelphia school detected an actual error in Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective. In a story about a trickster who tricks his classmates in an egg-spinning contest, Sobol failed to explain how the cheater managed to get a boiled egg into the dozen before the contestants bought it at the grocery store. Sobol reread the story for the first time in almost thirty years, and realized that they were right. Sobol made a correction in the book, and newer editions have a more complete explanation for that mystery.

Sobol has written more than just books about Encyclopedia Brown. He has written a number of nonfiction books that required a great deal of research on topics such as King Arthur's England, Ancient Greece, military leaders of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. He is also the editor of two history collections, A Civil War Sampler and An American Revolutionary War Reader, and the author of a book on stocks and bonds.

Sobol is a contributor of more than one hundred stories and articles in national magazines under a variety of pen names. His manuscripts are kept in the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sobol also has a number of interests besides writing. He also enjoys traveling, restoring antique cars, boating, fishing, scuba diving, gardening, and tennis.

Information for this biography was taken from:
1) Anne Commire (ed.). Something About the Author, #1; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1971.
2) "Donald J. Sobol", Gale Literary Databases; http//www.galenet.com.
3) Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast (eds.). St. James Guide to Children's Writers; St. James Press: Detroit, Mich., 1999.

J-SOB Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Dead Eagles (1975) -- Join the remarkable boy detective, Encyclopedia Brown, as he investigates the mysterious shooting of two golden eagles, a pizza parlor thief, and eight other baffling puzzles.

J-Sobol/J-P-SOB Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disgusting Sneakers (1990) -- Encyclopedia Brown puzzles over ten mysteries, including a calendar code, three water-filled canoes, and ancient treasure tree, and a foreign smuggling ring.

J-P-SOB Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Midnight Visitor (1977) -- Well-known detective, Encyclopedia Brown, solves the mysterious disappearance of rich Mr. Butler, and nine other mysteries.

J-SOB Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Mysterious Fingerprints (1985) -- A muddled phone message, mysterious hand prints in a muddy yard, a forgotten book on baseball ... these are just some of the clues in the mysteries America's greatest boy detective tries to solve.

J-SOB Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret Pitch (1966) -- Encyclopedia Brown must use his famous computer-like brain to solve ten brain-twisting mysteries such as a cross-eyed baseball pitch, a missing penknife named Excalibur, poems that pack a punch, and a kid-lover turned kidnapper.

J-Sobol/J-P-SOB Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective (1963) -- Whenever 10-year-old Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown's father, Chief of Police of Idaville, had a difficult case, Encyclopedia always managed to solve it at the dinner table. So, he decided to open his own detective agency

J-SOB Encyclopedia Brown Carries On (1980) -- Once again, Chief Brown asks his son for help with some of his cases, which include a giant mousetrap on the City Hall lawn.

J-SOB/J-P-SOB Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues (1966) -- Match your wits against those of America's greatest boy genius with these ten mysteries.

J-SOB Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man (1967) -- Join Encyclopedia Brown as he solves the following mysteries: a ghost who whistles, eight stuffed penguins, An underwater car, A famous explorer's fortune, and an ldaville boy who's literally lost his marbles!

J-SOB Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace (1969) -- The solutions to ten mysteries solved by Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown are given in a separate section challenging the reader to match wits with the ten-year-old mastermind of Idaville's war on crime.

J-SOB/J-P-SOB Encyclopedia Brown Lends a Hand (1968) -- The reader can help Idaville's famous amateur boy sleuth solve ten perplexing mysteries, with the answers listed in the back of the book

J-SOB Encyclopedia Brown Saves the Day (1970) -- Encyclopedia Brown, his partner, Sally, try to solve the mysteries of a camper who's been bound and gagged, a stolen bike wheel, two kidnapped pigs, a boy with wings, and a foot-warmer inventor who accidentally puts his own foot right in his mouth!

J-P-SOB Encyclopedia Brown Shows the Way (1972) -- Encyclopedia Brown is not even challenged when he investigates a ripped-off rattlesnake, a guard dog that has a nervous breakdown, a pickpocket with a pet kangaroo, and a red-haired red herring!

J-P-SOB Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Cake! (1983) -- The 10-year-old detective solves "The Case of the Missing Garlic Bread" and other food-related mysteries. Menus and recipes for a Fourth-of-July party, a birthday brunch, and other occasions are also included.

J-SOB Encyclopedia Brown Tracks Them Down (1971) -- Encyclopedia is kept busy by investigating a tiny submarine that flies through the air, a half-dollar worth five thousand dollars, some tipsy birds, a world that fits in the palm of your hand, and a case that turns out to be a real can of worms!

J-Sobol Encyclopedia Brown's Book of Wacky Cars (1987) -- True wacky stories about cars -- famous cars, unusual cars, vintage cars, impractical cars, and others.

J-P-SOB Still More Two-Minute Mysteries (1975) -- Sixty-three "quickie" mysteries for you to solve.

J-P-SOB Two Minute Mysteries (1967) -- Whether testing their own sleuthing abilities by working against the clock or enjoying the intrigue of unraveling each case, readers will delight in the spine-tingling puzzlers in each of these short but thrilling mysteries.

J-031-SOB Encyclopedia Brown's Second Record Book of Weird and Wonderful Facts (1981) -- From sports flukes to animal oddities to Aspirin Alley (a losers' hall of fame), here's a bonanza of lore to surprise and delight even the most skeptical of readers.

"Donald J. Sobol", Gale Literary Databases (http://www.gale.com) -- This site provides access to information about authors such as Sobol and their works collected from a number of Gale products.

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