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Jo Noble

Jo_Noble_1.JPGJo Noble was a lifelong promoter of books for children. Jo was born in Auckland but spent most of her childhood in Coroglen, on the Coromandel Peninsula. Jo's family lived 12 miles from the nearest shop and Jo went to school on horseback.
Jo worked as a psychiatric nurse, then spent two years in England, travelling around demonstrating knitting machines. This was when she first met her friend and colleague, Judy Keestra. Jo won a True Confessions competition with a story called 'I Was a Dipsomaniac'! She went on to the New Zealand Women's Weekly and the New Zealand Home Journal for six years. At the end of the 1970s Jo started a children's magazine called Jabberwocky full of stories, articles, competitions and book reviews.
By this time she owned several cartons of children's books, motivating her to establish Jabberwocky Children's Bookshop in Blockhouse Bay. When Judy Keestra joined the business they moved it to Balmoral. The first Jabberwocky magazine ran for seven or eight years, went into abeyance, and revived again in 1992, running for another eight years. Jo was also instrumental in producing Jabbering About Books, a book review newsletter which turned into Well Read when the bookshop was sold. Jo continued publishing Well Read to the end of 2002.
Early in the 1990s Jo and others at the Jabberwocky Bookshop began joint production of the annual New Zealand Children's Books in Print with the owner of Tapui Education Books. Over time Jo took sole charge, and was proud that the 2002 issue sold out. She edited three anthologies for children: The Great Pavlova Cover Up, 100 New Zealand Poems for Children, and 30 New Zealand Stories for Children.
Selected bibliography:
  • 100 New Zealand Poems for Children edited by Jo Noble, illustrated by David Elliot (Random House 1999).
  • 30 New Zealand Stories for Children edited by Jo Noble, illustrated by David Elliot (Random House 2000).
  • The Great Pavlova Cover Up: New Zealand Stories for Children edited by Jo Noble, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Cumulus 2001).
  • CLA Award for Services to Children's Literature (now the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award) 1993.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2000 Non-fiction List for 100 New Zealand Poems for Children.
  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2002 Junior Fiction List for The Great Pavlova Cover Up.
  • Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Children's Literature 2003.


Storylines Trust Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki and Friends of Storylines Te Pou o Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki together form New Zealand’s only national organisation working year-round to promote New Zealand children’s and young adult literature through activities that include a major national Story Tour to schools, early childhood centres and communities, and awards for writers, illustrators and those who work in the area of New Zealand children’s literature



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