Joyce Dunbar

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Joyce Dunbar
Born 1944 (age 70–71)
Scunthorpe, England
Occupation Writer
Nationality British
Genre Children's books

Joyce Dunbar (born 1944)[1] is an English writer. She primarily writes books for children, and has published over seventy books.[2] 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.[2] She is the mother of the children's writer-illustrator Polly Dunbar.


Dunbar was born in 1944 in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire,[1] and is one of four children.[3] Her father was a steel-worker and her mother was a fishing net maker.[3] She grew up in Lincolnshire.[4]

Dunbar attended Goldsmiths College in London, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English.[1] After that, she did several jobs, working as a nanny, a waitress, a barmaid, and a salesperson.[1][3] In 1968, she started working as a teacher in a college drama department of Stratford-on-Avon, England.[1] However, due to her gradual loss of hearing,[1] Dunbar had to stop her teaching career and in 1989, she became a full-time writer.[2]

Dunbar has two grown up children: Ben, a fashion photographer and Polly, an author illustrator.[2][5] Dunbar currently lives in Norwich.[4]



Dunbar published her first children's book at age 35.[4] 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.[1] In 1990, her book A Bun for Barney was made into an interactive video game by BBC Multimedia Corporation.[1]

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.[2] 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.[2]

Dunbar most well-known series, Mouse and Mole, has been adapted into a twenty-six part television animation series by Grasshopper Productions, with voices lent by Alan Bennett and Richard Briers.[2][6]

Other projects[edit]

Being a person with a hearing impairment,[7][8] 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.[3][6] Her journal Cycle Cuba, a record of this event, was published in 1999.[2] That same year, she had a trip to the Himalayas in support of the founding of a new ashram.[3] Dunbar has also taught English writing for children from Greek island Skyros.[6]

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.[9]

Selected bibliography[edit]

Children's fiction
  • Moonbird (Random House 2006)
  • Where's My Sock (Chicken House 2006)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwalfs (Retelling) (Scholastic 2005)
  • Boo to the Who in the Dark (Scholastic 2004)
  • The Love-Me Bird (Scholastic 2003)
  • Magic Lemonade (Egmont 2003)
  • Tell Me What It's Like To Be Big (Transworld 2001)
  • The Very Small (Transworld 2000)
  • The Glass Garden (Frances Lincoln 1999)
  • Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep (Transworld 1998)
  • Baby Bird (Walker 1998)
  • If You Want To Be A Cat (Macdonald 1997)
  • This Is The Star (Transworld 1996)
  • Freddie The Frog (Ginn 1996)
  • Oops-A-Daisy (Walker 1995)
  • Little Eight John (Retelling) (Ginn 1994)
  • The Spring Rabbit (Anderson Press 1994)
  • Seven Sillies (Anderson Press 1993)
  • Can Do (Simon & Schuster 1992)
  • Why Is The Sky Up? (Dent 1991)
  • Ten Little Mice (Methuen 1990)
  • Joanna and the Bean-Bag Beastie (Ginn 1989)
  • Mouse Mad Madeline (Hamish Hamilton 1988)
  • The Raggy Taggy Toys (Orchard 1987)
  • Mundo and the Weather-Child (Heinemann 1985)
  • The Magic Rose Bough (Hodder & Stoughton 1984)
  • Jugg (Scolar Press 1980)
Panda & Gander Series
  • Panda's New Toy (Walker Books 1999)
  • Gander's Pond (Walker Books 1999)
  • The Secret Friend (Walker Books 1999)
  • Tutti-Frutti (Walker Books 1999)
Mouse and Mole Series
  • Mouse And Mole (Transworld 1993)
  • Mouse And Mole Have A Party (Transworld 1993)
  • Happy Days For Mouse & Mole (Transworld 1996)
  • A Very Special Mouse & Mole (Transworld 1996)
  • Hip-Dip-Dip With Mouse And Mole (Transworld 2000)
  • The Ups And Downs of Mouse And Mole (Transworld 2001)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Joyce Dunbar biography from
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Joyce Dunbar author profile from
  3. ^ a b c d e Author biography from
  4. ^ a b c Joyce Dunbar interview from Double luck.
  5. ^ The best new picture book illustrators from The Times
  6. ^ a b c The Glass Garden at Google Books
  7. ^ Joyce Dunbar from Random House
  8. ^ In the picture from Disability now
  9. ^ Steering Group from Children in the Picture.

External links[edit]