In the world of New Zealand children's books, the name Joy Cowley engenders enormous respect and affection. She has published dozens and dozens of children's trade books of all kinds, such as the Mrs. Wishy Washy series, the award-winning Shadrach trilogy and Hunter. And she has written literally hundreds of readers for the international educational book market. She is constantly in demand as a guest performer and speaker all over the world, but particularly in the US. Joy has also written a tantalisingly small number of very fine adult novels, beginning with Nest in a Falling Tree in the 1970s and including Classic Music and Holy Days, both published by Penguin in the early 1990s.
Joy also has an additional dimension. She is an intensely thoughtful and spiritual person, who writes and practises what she preaches and owns a lodge/retreat centre at Fish Bay in the Marlborough Sounds created by Joy and her husband Terry. Navigation is a relaxed, beautifully written memoir, not in any sense a formal autobiography. It contains wonderful sections on Joy's life growing up in a small Manawatu town (her first job on leaving school was as a pharmacy assistant in Foxton), her family life and her exploration of the joys of writing. It touches down constantly at Fish Bay in the Sounds, where Joy writes passionately about the landscape, the seasons and the natural world around her.