Noel Streatfield was born on December 24th, 1895, the daughter of an Anglican clergyman. She worked in a soldiers’ hospital during World War I, but also wrote and produced plays during this time.
After the war, in 1919, she enrolled at the Royal Academy in London to study acting. She had a bad experience on the stage, and decided on a career in writing instead.
She wrote many novels for adults and children while remaining active as a volunteer. As a member of the Deptford Voluntary Child Care organization, she advocated medical and dental checkups, often traveling to children’s homes to encourage parents of the necessity for regular healthcare.
In 1936, Mabel Carey, editor at Dent, asked Ms. Streatfield to write a book about the theater for children. In 1939, she won a Carnegie Medal for The Circus is Coming. Perhaps her most well-known books in America are the “Shoes” books, including Ballet Shoes and Theatre Shoes.
In 1968, she suffered a serious stroke which left her paralyzed down her left side with speech loss. Despite this, she managed an almost complete recovery after much therapy. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1983 for her contribution to Literature and England. She died in 1986.