Noel Streatfeild was born in Sussex in 1895. She was drawn to the stage from a very young age, but when war broke out in 1914 any chance of pursuing a theatrical career was put on hold. After the war she trained at the Academy of Dramatic Art in London and then worked in theatre for the next decade. But life as an actress was tough, and in 1930 she decided to try and earn her living as a writer. She wrote five books for adults before embarking - at the suggestion of her editor - on a children's novel, Ballet Shoes. She won the Carnegie Medal for The Circus is Coming (later entitled Circus Shoes) in 1939 and went on to publish many more novels, both for children and adults. She was awarded an OBE in 1983 and died in 1986.