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Goble was born in Haslemere, England. He grew up in Oxford where his father was a harpsichord maker, and his mother a professional musician. Goble studied at the Central School of Art in London and then worked as an art teacher, as a furniture designer and as an industrial consultant. His first children's book, Red Hawk's Account of Custer's Last Battle, was published in 1969.
In 1977, he moved to the Black Hills in South Dakota and was adopted by Chief Edgar Red Cloud. Goble was greatly influenced by Plains Indian culture and his subsequent children's books reflect this.
In 1979, Goble received the Caldecott Medal award, presented each year for the most distinguished children's picture book, for his 1978 book The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. Most of his books, retellings of ancient stories, are told from the perspectives of different tribes among the Native Nations.
A biography, Paul Goble: Storyteller, written by University of Manitoba professor Gregory Bryan, was published shortly after Goble's death.
Goble was married twice. His first wife, Dorothy Lee (sister of actress Barbara Lee), whom he married in England in 1960, was credited as co-author on several of his books. They had two children before divorcing in 1978. Later that same year in South Dakota he married Janet Tiller, with whom he had a son. Janet Goble died in July 2014.