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Bob Barton

Bob Barton has visited many schools of children each year telling stories,
talking about writing, reading from his books and teaching drama. He
has worked in radio, written for adults and he appears in the storytelling
festivals all over the world.

Bob was raised in Hamilton, Ontario and taught both elementary and secondary school before coming to Toronto to work for the Ministry
of Education. In 1989 he took early retirement in order to pursue his
love of writing and storytelling. Most days he is either in schools telling stories, at home writing, or rushing to catch a plane to make a presentation at a conference somewhere in the world.

In Readings Bob focuses on traditional tales which are told orally. Bob discusses the role of the re-teller of tales and uses his books to illustrate how he has made a story his own. Bob also makes the connection between story retelling and the development of the students’ own writing.

In workshops Bob Uses stories from the oral tradition, Bob explores with students the process that goes into retelling and involve them in writing activities out of the story.

Selected Publications

  • Selected Bibliography

    Poetry Goes to School with David Booth (Pembroke Publishers, 2004 )
    The Bear Says North (Groundwood Books, 2003)
    The Small Miracle (Tundra Books, 2003)
    Telling Stories Your Way (Pembroke Publishers, 2000)
    Mother Goose Goes To School (Pembroke Publishers , 1995

  • Bob Barton - renowned storyteller.
Performances: The Fleeing Pancake; Tiny Tales; Northern Lights; Wonder Tales from Myth and Legend through Prologue to the Performing Arts


Lifetime Achievement Award, Royal Conservatory of Music, 2002
National Symposium on Arts Education, 2000
Jennie Mitchell Celebrate Literacy Award (Ontario Reading Assoc.),1990.
Fabian Lemieux Award, for contribution to the arts in Ontario schools,1989.
Ginn Reading Award, 1985
Life Membership, Council on Drama in Education

Questions and Answers

Where do you get your ideas? "Because I perform my stories I spend a great deal of
time searching for old tales. Many of these stories form the basis for my books."

How many books have you written? "Since 1969 when my first book was published, I have authored and co-authored sixteen books."

How long does it take to write a book? "I tend to be a slow writer and several of my books (adult non-fiction) can take up to three years before going to a publisher. My children's books are often rehearsed out loud with young audiences for one to two years before I write them down. The actual writing might take two to four months."

What advice can you offer young people interested in becoming writers? "I believe
that you have to read a lot. You have to read everything that you can get your hands on in order to understand the kind of books and stories that appeal to you and that you want to write for yourself."

Is writing hard? "I think that the important thing about writing is that you have to sit down and do it. The more I discipline myself to writing daily the more productive I seem to become."

Who inspired you? "Without a doubt writers such as Charles Causley, a poet; Lucy Boston, a painter turned writer; Jill Paton-Walsh, a writer; and Kevin Crossley-Holland, a folk-lorist and poet and others have thrilled me with their skill with words. They made me want to do it too."

Do you do a lot of research? "Absolutely. Sometimes the research part can take longer than the actual writing."

385 Brunswick Avenue, Apt. 409
Toronto ON
M5R 3R1

contact Bob at bobbarton@sympatico.ca

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