About Joanna Norland

Writing instructor, playwright and mother of two
Author Archive | Joanna Norland

An Alpha-ntastic Birthday Card

Remember the frisson of creative anticipation you felt, as a kid, when you constructed an indispensable something-or-other for your parents out of shoe boxes, milk carton caps and pipe cleaners? It turns out that you can re-experience the thrill as an adult, by making birthday cards for the children in your life. This year, I […]

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Something Old, Something New

Why Authors Love Writing Fractured Fairy Tales Almost As Much as Children Love Reading Them !! Leave a comment below to enter a prize draw for a fractured fairy tale by Caryl Hart or Leigh Hodgkinson !! In the Princess and the Peas, by Caryl Hart, a doctor concludes that a young girl with an aversion […]

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My First Day of School – As a Visiting Author

Yes Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My reaction was unequivocal when my daughter’s Year 1 teacher invited me to read a picture book manuscript to her class. I had initially approached Mrs. R for feedback about a fractured fairy tale I was working on, and her thoughts on how a teacher might use it with a class. The opportunity to […]

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A Thank You Poster for our Nanny

If I had been one of the good fairies bestowing gifts to Sleeping Beauty at her baptism, I wouldn’t have bothered giving her clear skin or musicality. Instead, I would have given her a strong capacity for gratitude. There is no greater source of joy, and it’s the ultimate renewable resource:  The more you express […]

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20 Tips for Writers from SCBWI

On the weekend of November 18-20, I attended my first ever creative writing conference organized by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) UK in Winchester. It was welcoming, invigorating, informative, humbling, encouraging and inspiring.  I joined SCBWI upon the recommendation of several of the writer mothers profiled on Mums Write and can now […]

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Prize Draw: Picture Books Beyond Primary School

Rediscovering picture books — favourites from my childhood, and stacks of new ones — has been one of my great unanticipated joys as a parent. I devoured picture books as a child, and would read myself hoarse at bedtime during my my babysitting years. So why did I stop reading them in the decades leading to the birth of my […]

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Collaboration with Jane Whelen Banks

I’ve always loved collaborative art forms — playwriting, journalism, and now picture books, where author and illustrator drive the story forward together. So I was thrilled when author, Jane Whelen Banks agreed to produce some illustrations for my Family Lexicon of words that my family has introduced to the English language. But as with all effective […]

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Picturebook Review: I Loathe You, by David Slonim

I’ve always been a little creeped out by Sam McBratney’s classic, Guess How Much I  Love You. The one-upmanship in matters of the heart strikes me as manipulative and inflected with guilt. So I was delighted to discover David Slonim’s wacky alternative, I Loathe You.  Little Monster and Big Monster — entirely loveable (or loath-able?)  beneath their jagged teeth and […]

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Play Doh Doctor Drill N Fill:  Decent Play Value, but no Educational Bite

The Play Doh Doctor Drill N Fill (ages 3+, retailing for £13.99 on Amazon.co.uk) is a cleverly designed, reasonably entertaining toy. Disappointingly, however, Play Doh passed up a valuable opportunity to integrate education with play by teaching kids a little about their teeth and how to look after them. Paging all Junior Dentists My five-year-old […]

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Your Child’s Day: A Book to Treasure

A few years ago, in a desperate bid to get my son (ever the recalcitrant writer) to put pencil to paper during the l-o-o-o-ng Easter vacation, I suggested that we make a book about a day in his life. We took a photograph every hour from breakfast until lights out, along with photographs of his […]

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