Marjorie Sharmat the Magnificent

Libraries are chock full of Marjorie Sharmat’s books, especially the many tales of her young detective, Nate the Great.  Nate is indeed great—at solving mysteries--but only after a plate of pancakes! Nate the Great is the start of one of the most popular series ever written for beginning readers. These mysteries are also drily witty and have been enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

As a girl, Marjorie Weinman was rather shy. She enjoyed playing the piano, reading and drawing. But her ambitions were not so tame. When she grew up, she wanted to be a writer or a detective or a lion tamer! With a friend, she published The Snooper’s Gazette; filled with news they learned by spying on grown-ups!  She kept writing throughout her high school years, eventually getting published in school magazines and newspapers.

She studied marketing in college but got a job working in the famous Yale library after graduation. She met her husband, began raising a family, and learned a lot about kids by doing so.  Nate the Great is her most famous literary creation, but Nate does have a cousin—Olivia Sharp, who is equally brilliant and funny. Besides Nate and Olivia, Marjorie Sharmat has written many read-aloud books, such as I’m Not Oscar’s Friend Anymore and Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport, and Mooch the Messy--a beginning reader which has been made into a children's opera. Her own kids provided much of the inspiration for her work which is probably why it reads so true to the spirit of its audience. For example, Gila Monsters… was inspired by the family’s move across the country which had her kids thinking up all the crazy things that could be waiting for them over there.

Some Fast Facts:

  • Born November 12, 1928, in Portland, Maine
  • Graduated from Westbrook Junior College in 1948
  • She also worked as a circulation staff member at Yale University Library from 1951-54
  • She married Mitchell Brenner Sharmat. They have two sons, Craig and Andrew.
  • Her first book, Rex, was published in 1967 and won the Book of the Year Citation from the Library of Congress.
  • Nate the Great’s character was named for her father, Nathan Weinman.
  • She has published over 130 books, many of which have won awards.

Click here for a list of all the great books written by this author that are owned by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Find Nate the Great on the Web:

Nate the Great at Random House
http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/natethegreat/
Includes a short biography of Marjorie Sharmat, printable activity sheets, and more about her books.

Random House Audio: Three Free Downloads
http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=29740
Includes “Nate the Great Goes Undercover” wherein Nate has his first night case.

Sources

These articles will provide more information on the author--much of it funny!

From Gale Biography in Context, available through our Web site with your CRRL card:

"Marjorie Weinman Sharmat"
Contemporary Authors Online, 2002

“Marjorie Weinman Sharmat"
Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults, 2002