Encyclopedia Brown: Did You Grow Up Reading About This Boy Genius, Too?

By | June 24, 2019

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Smart and nerdy, Encyclopedia Brown taught us it was okay to be the brainy kid. Source: (crimereads.com)

One of the best-loved children’s book series of the 1960s and 1970s was the Encyclopedia Brown series. Who didn’t love to read the exploits of this boy genius who solved petty crime in his town using his brains and his power of observation? As a kid, we appreciated the books because they were clever and showed that kids could do more than adults gave them credit for. But reflecting back on the Encyclopedia Brown books, we can see that the author, Donald J. Sobol was giving us important life lessons. 

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Donald J. Sobol, author of the Encyclopedia Brown series. Source: (nytimes.com)

A Prolific Author

The Encyclopedia Brown book series was penned by Donald J. Sobol and the books were released between 1963 and 2011. In all, there were 30 books in the series and each one contained several mysteries that the boy detective needed to solve. After college, Sobol worked as a newspaper copy editor in New York. In 1959, he started writing a syndicated series called Two-Minute Mysteries. These ran in newspapers nationwide for more than ten years and were so popular that it encouraged Sobol to try his hand at a children’s mystery book. In his Two-Minute Mysteries, however, the detective was an adult and the crimes were all serious in nature, such as murder and kidnapping. In his children’s series, Sobol wanted his main character to be a child and the crimes to be far less severe.