Betty Gilderdale has made a considerable and important contribution to New Zealand’s children’s literature through her lecturing, reviewing, scholarly writing, and her books for children.
Born and educated in London, Betty moved with her family to New Zealand in 1967. Her career has included teaching at primary and secondary schools, at the North Shore Teachers’ College and Auckland College of Education, and currently for Continuing Education at the University of Auckland.
It was during Betty’s time at North Shore Teachers' College that she became a founding member of the Children’s Literature Association (CLA), staying on the committee for its entire 30-year history. Betty’s interest in New Zealand children’s literature led to her book A Sea Change: 145 Years of New Zealand Junior Fiction
which won the PEN award for the Best First Book of Prose in 1983. In 2000 Betty edited a new edition of Station Life in New Zealand
. Betty has also written extensively on New Zealand children’s authors for major international books, and her chapter on children’s literature in the Oxford History of New Zealand Literature
(1998) is an authoritative survey. Betty also reviewed children’s books for the New Zealand Herald
from 1973 to 1999.
She is a founding member and president of Children’s Media Watch, which led to her being selected as the Zonta North Shore Woman of the Year in 1989. In 2000 Betty donated her extensive collection of New Zealand children’s books as a research collection to the University of Auckland Library. The CLA Award for Services to Children’s Literature was renamed the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award
in her honour.
- A Sea Change: 145 Years of New Zealand Junior Fiction (Longman Paul 1982).
- Introducing Margaret Mahy illustrated by Alan Gilderdale (Viking Kestrel 1987).
- Under the Rainbow: A Treasury of New Zealand Children’s Stories selected by Betty Gilderdale (David Bateman 1990).
- Introducing Twenty-one New Zealand Children’s Writers (Hodder & Stoughton 1991).
- The Little Yellow Digger illustrated by Alan Gilderdale (Ashton Scholastic 1992).
- The Little Yellow Digger at the Zoo illustrated by Alan Gilderdale (Scholastic 1998).
- The Little Yellow Digger Saves the Whale illustrated by Alan Gilderdale (Scholastic 2001).
- The Little Yellow Digger Goes to School illustrated by Alan Gilderdale (Scholastic 2005).
- The Little Yellow Digger and the Bones illustrated by Alan Gilderdale (Scholastic 2009).
- My Life in Two Halves: A Memoir (David Bateman 2012).