Donald Sobol: Encyclopedia Brown’s Influence

Having taught second and third grade for over 20 years and been a school librarian also, I am well acquainted with the Encyclopedia Brown Series written by Donald Sobol. I remember the covers back from the 80’s. Some of the second grade boys were determined to read all the books they could find in the series. The Encyclopedia Brown Strikes Again was first published in 1965 by Scholastic.


They were always popular for those students who loved mysteries whether boys or girls. And I found they were especially great for those reluctant readers. Each book was less than 100 pages, with some pictures. They were self-contained stories so it did not matter what order you read them in. Like many children’s series, these books followed a similar progression which involved Leroy, “Encyclopedia” solving several mysteries in each book.

Other favorite related books from Donald Sobol were the Two-Minute Mysteries where Encyclopedia Brown used his logic and keen observation to solve the puzzle. Students would love to give the answer before they turned to the back of the book for the answers.

Donald Sobol recently died at age 87. I am thankful for his books that certainly left some impressions on his young readers, especially crime novelist and forensic pathologist Jonathan Hayes.  He shared the influence these books had on him in Encyclopedia Brown: The Great Sleuth from my Youth.

These books are still selling today so if you have a young one in your life that likes to read mysteries or solve puzzles get them one to read from the library or check them out at Donald J. Sobol, his Amazon page.

From my personal library listed on

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