Joyce Dunbar

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Joyce Dunbar
Born (1944-01-06) 6 January 1944 (age 76)
Scunthorpe, England
GenreChildren's books

Joyce Dunbar (born 6 January 1944) [1] [2] is an English writer. She primarily writes books for children, and has published over seventy books. [3] Dunbar is perhaps best known for Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep, This Is The Star, and the Mouse and Mole series. [3] She is the mother of the children's writer-illustrator Polly Dunbar.



Dunbar was born in 1944 in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, [2] and is one of four children. [4] Her father was a steel-worker and her mother was a fishing net maker. [4] She grew up in Lincolnshire. [5]

Dunbar attended Goldsmiths College in London, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English. [2] After that, she did several jobs, working as a nanny, a waitress, a barmaid, and a salesperson. [2] [4] In 1968, she started working as a teacher in a college drama department of Stratford-on-Avon, England. [2] However, due to her gradual loss of hearing, [2] Dunbar had to stop her teaching career and in 1989, she became a full-time writer. [3]

Dunbar has two grown up children: Ben, a fashion photographer and Polly, an author illustrator. [3] [6] Dunbar currently lives in Norwich. [5]



Dunbar published her first children's book at age 35. [5] In 1985, Dunbar published Mundo and the Weather-Child – a novel about the imaginary friend of a deaf child, which helped her become a runner up for the Guardian Fiction Award. [2] In 1990, her book A Bun for Barney was made into an interactive video game by BBC Multimedia Corporation. [2]

In 1998, she wrote Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep, which is recommended as a book to help children feel secure. In 2002 Dunbar did a book tour in the United States to promote this book. [3] Her 2005 picture book Shoe Baby, illustrated by her daughter Polly, was made into a puppet show and is part of the 2006 Brighton Festival. [3]

Dunbar most well-known series, Mouse and Mole (illustrated by James Mayhew), has been adapted into a 26-part television animation series by Grasshopper Productions, with voices lent by Alan Bennett and Richard Briers. [3] [7]

Other projects

Being a person with a hearing impairment, [8] [9] Dunbar has participated in a number of campaigns on behalf of deaf people. In 1998, Dunbar cycled across Cuba in order to raise funds for the National Deaf Children's Society. [4] [7] Her journal Cycle Cuba, a record of this event, was published in 1999. [3] That same year, she had a trip to the Himalayas in support of the founding of a new ashram. [4] Dunbar has also taught English writing for children from Greek island Skyros. [7]

Dunbar is on the steering group for the in the Picture project run by SCOPE, which is about the representation of children with disability in picture books. [10]

Selected bibliography

Children's fiction
Panda & Gander Series
Mouse and Mole Series (illustrated by James Mayhew)

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  1. "Dunbar, Joyce 1944-". Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Joyce Dunbar biography from
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Joyce Dunbar author profile Archived 7 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine from
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Author biography Archived 3 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine from
  5. 1 2 3 Joyce Dunbar interview Archived 22 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine from Double luck.
  6. The best new picture book illustrators from The Times
  7. 1 2 3 The Glass Garden at Google Books
  8. Joyce Dunbar from Random House
  9. In the picture Archived 30 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine from Disability now
  10. Steering Group Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine from Children in the Picture.
  11. "Pat-a-cake Baby". Kirkus Media LLC. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  12. "Puss Jekyll Cat Hyde". Kirkus Media LLC. 29 March 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  13. "Shoe Baby". Kirkus Media LLC. 1 July 2005. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  14. "Eggday". Kirkus Media LLC. 1 March 1999. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  15. "The Secret Friend". Kirkus Media LLC. 1 March 1999. Retrieved 7 October 2015.