Mercer, Joan Bodger 1923-2002
MERCER, Joan Bodger 1923-2002
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born August 31, 1923, in San Francisco, CA; died of cancer July 4, 2002, in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada. Storyteller, educator, consultant, editor, and author. Mercer filled her life with children and books. She directed a nursery school in Nyack, New York where the state's first "head-start" program was launched in the early 1960s. She taught children's literature and storytelling at the Bank Street College of Education, then went to the State Library of Missouri as a consultant to the Children's Division and later became a children's book editor for publisher Random House. Moving to Toronto, Canada in the early 1970s, Mercer became a Gestalt therapist and a professional storyteller, and was a founding member of the board of directors of the Storytellers School of Toronto. Mercer was described by those who knew her as an adventurer, curious to solve mysteries and probe beneath the surface of what she read. A trip to England to explore first hand the settings of children's stories by Kenneth Grahame, Rudyard Kipling, and others resulted in her first book, How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children's Books. Mercer, who published under the name Joan Bodger, also wrote several children's books, including Clever-Lazy: The Girl Who Invented Herself, Belinda's Bell, and The Forest Family. Her autobiography, The Crack in the Teacup: The Life of an Old Woman Steeped in Story, was published in 2000.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Mercer, Joan Bodger, The Crack in the Teacup: TheLife of an Old Woman Steeped in Story, McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
National Post, July 6, 2002, obituary by Dan Yashinsky, p.B11.
School Library Journal, September, 2002, obituary by Kathy Ishizuka, p. 25.