JoAnne Stewart Wetzel
   Writer, Theater Geek, Collector of Castles
I grew up as an Air Force brat. I’ve lived in 10 states and on the Greek island of Crete. Wherever we moved, my parents looked for a house near the library and I soon found all my old friends on its shelves.
     I still love to read and to travel. And I love stories. I love reading them, writing them, telling them, seeing them on stage. 
   My wonderful aunts, Dorothy and Eileen, took me to Broadway to see my first play, Peter Pan. There were pirates and Indians and a fairy but best of all, the children could fly. Ever since I was 7 years old, I’ve known something magical might happen at any moment in a theater. 
    When I was grown-up, I saw another magical production, Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There was an actor with a donkey’s head stuck on his shoulders, feuding lovers, and fairies who battled with flowers that flew into my lap. That night I vowed to see a production of every play by Shakespeare. In  2018, I completed my goal when I saw my 40th Shakespearian play, Two Noble Kinsmen. 
       Many of the jobs I’ve held have involved writing. I’ve worked in public relations, as a marketing writer for a student travel organization, and as a columnist for Gentry magazine. I’ve also taught on the elementary, high school and college level. One of my favorite jobs was as a children’s librarian.
    That’s where I began The Traveling Storytime, which trained volunteers to read to preschool children in day care facilities. So far the volunteers have made over half a million child visits.  
     One of my favorite volunteer positions was serving as the Regional Advisor for the San Francisco and South area of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
    One of my favorite hobbies is finding castles and palaces to sleep in when I’m traveling. My next book is set in the most ancient European palace of all, on a long island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Can you guess what the palace is called?

“Help the Chicken Cross the Road.” 
Interactive game for the California State Automobile Association's 
Otto Club 
Web Page and CD


Speaking with my grandson’s help at the Lincoln Community School in Accra, Ghana.

  The sign reads Akwaaba, which means welcome in Twi.

I’ve spoken to audiences of all ages, from infants–at a weekly story time for babies from birth to one at Redwood City’s nationally acclaimed Public Library–to adults at writing conferences including  SCBWI’s Golden Gate Conference at Asilomar,  the California Library Association Conference, and the Jack London Writer's Conference. For years I taught a community college course on “How to Write a Children’s Picture Book and Get It Published.”

Over 7, 000 children in classrooms and auditoriums all around the San Francisco Bay area have participated in my talks on writing.

If you’d like to hear me speak on writing, theater, how William Shakespeare and I wrote Playing Juliet or another topic, please email me at


           About My Books


            Beth Sondquist’s secret wish is to play Shakespeare’s Juliet, someday. But if she keeps breaking so many theater superstitions, she may never get onstage again.

    “Playing Juliet is cinematic,  fast-paced, full of theater magic, misdirection, and Shakespeare. What could be better for any reader who ever wanted to act in a play? I couldn't stop reading.”    Jane Yolen, author of  How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? and Owl Moon

         About Me

Broderbund,  Inc. 1997

Content writer

 Hampton Court Palace
                         One Night in a Castle,
                   Two Nights over the Pub,
                   Three Nights at the Palace  


           National Writing Awards

Bank Street College of Education–Noteworthy Books for Children Published in

1992: The Christmas Box.

Highlights for Children  Humorous Writing Contest, 1990. Finalist: "Mary Fred and the

Costume Parade."

Writer's Digest Children’s Nonfiction Writing Contest, 1998. Honorable Mention: Mr. Peale and the Mammoth Bones.

Writer's Digest  Writing Contest 1989. Honorable Mention, Article:  "Flowers for My Father."

Alfred A. Knopf, 1992

A Noteworthy Book for Children”

Bank Street College of Education 

Superior, well above average

Horn Book


                               Carolrhoda Books, 1987


           Stage-struck youngsters will welcome this”

                                     Horn Book


   “A lovely book...loaded with pictures...well put together.

If you have children interested in being in theatre, read this.”


                     Jerry Friedman: KGO Radio

My Work on CD’s and Web Sites

            My travel web site grew out of my graduate study in 
          Art History at Stanford University which concentrated                  
          on English art and architecture. It’s a way to share some            
          of my knowledge of England and my travel discoveries     
          there.  On it you can find such amazing places to stay                                                                                                                                                                 
          as a thatched pub that’s almost 900 years old or an
          English castle where you can sleep in the same room King   
           Henry VIII shared with Anne Boleyn. 



I got to sit in a chair shaped like an elephant when I was at the Elephant Cafe in Edinburgh, Scotland, where J.K. Rowling went when she was writing the Harry Potter books. I couldn’t resist working on one of my manuscripts while I was there.

       Chair at the Elephant Cafe, Edinburgh.

To order a signed or inscribed copy of 
Mermaid School or 
Playing Juliet

Buy it through Kepler’s, my local independent bookseller
Write that you want a signed and/or inscribed copy on the Checkout page
Also available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

I don’t like Daleks!

    ©2020 JoAnne Stewart Wetzel

Alfred A. Knopf     July, 2018

Join Molly and her new friend Squirt on their very

 first day at an underwater school

Sky Pony Press,  November, 2015