Meet "Nate the Great" Author Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Christina Cordano and Beth Fhaner
 | Nov 09, 2018
Nate the Great Logo and Marjorie Sharmat

Author Marjorie Sharmat.

The History of Pancakes

It’s no secret that Nate the Great loves pancakes. But did you know pancakes have been around for thousands of years and enjoyed all over the world? The earliest references to pancakes are in the plays of fifth-century BCE Greek poets Cratinus and Magnes. These pancakes were made for breakfast with wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk. In fourth-century BCE China, people enjoyed fragile cakes made from wheat flour. Playwright William Shakespeare even mentioned pancakes four times in two plays (in As You Like It and All’s Well That Ends Well)! 

Born in Portland, Maine, in 1928, Marjorie Weinman Sharmat dreamed of becoming a writer. Little did she know that she would be the author of more than 130 books for children of all ages, which have been translated into 17 languages. Another of her childhood dreams, that of becoming a detective, has also been realized in her most popular Nate the Great series, begun in 1972. Many of Sharmat’s books have been Literary Guild selections and chosen as Books of the Year by the Library of Congress. Several have been made into films for television, including Nate the Great Goes Undercover, winner of the Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival Award. Nate the Great Saves the King of Sweden has been named one of the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing. Sharmat lives with her husband in Tucson, Arizona.

More on the Nate the Great Book Series

The series of more than two dozen children’s books features Nate the Great, a boy detective who famously sports a trench coat and a plaid sleuthing cap. He solves mysteries with his dog, Sludge, who was introduced in the second case, Nate the Great goes Undercover (1974), when Nate finds him eating a stale pancake in a field. Both Nate and Sludge love pancakes.

Author Marjorie Sharmat based the title character of the young sleuth on her father, Nathan Weinman, who was often called Nate by his friends. Other characters are named after some of Sharmat’s other relatives, and she’s admitted that many of the events in her books have been inspired by things that have happened to her friends and relatives.

Learn more about Nate the Great.