MIAMI (AP) - Donald J. Sobol, author of the popular "Encyclopedia Brown" series of children's mysteries, has died. He was 87.
Sobol died in Miami from natural causes July 11, his son John Sobol told The Associated Press on Monday.
Sobol's series featured amateur sleuth Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown, who would unravel mysteries with the help of his encyclopedic knowledge of facts great and small. The books, first published in the early 1960s, were translated into 12 languages and sold millions of copies worldwide.
"Thanks to Donald, generations of children have learned to read and solve mysteries alongside Encyclopedia Brown, one of the most iconic characters in children's literature," said Don Weisberg, president of Penguin Young Readers Group, which publishes Sobol's books.
The Encyclopedia Brown books also featured Brown's friend and detective partner, Sally Kimball. John Sobol said his father was ahead of his times in creating a strong female character.
"That was groundbreaking back in 1963 when the series was first published," Sobol said.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Encyclopedia Brown series. Donald Sobol's latest Encyclopedia Brown adventure, "Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme," will be published in October of this year, according to a release from Penguin.
Sobol's first book was rejected two-dozen times before it was published, his son said.
The Encyclopedia Brown concept - in which the solutions to the mysteries are shown after the story - came to Sobol while he was researching an article at the New York Public Library, and a clerk mistakenly handed him a game book, with puzzles on one side and the solutions on the other.
Sobol decided to write a mystery series with the same premise. He earned an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America award for the Encyclopedia Brown series.
John Sobol said his father loved hearing from cou ntless librarians and parents about children who hated to read until they picked up an Encyclopedia Brown book.
Sobol authored more than 80 books and wrote on a daily basis.
LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ, The Associated Press
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