Born in Hamilton and educated at the University of Auckland before raising four children, Elsie Locke (1912–2001) won an honorary DLit from the University of Canterbury in 1997 for her lifetime's work as a children's writer, historian, editor and activist for peace and women's affairs. Her best-known children's book, The Runaway Settlers
, remains in print after more than 40 years and in 1999 won the inaugural Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award
. She also wrote an acclaimed autobiography.
The LIANZA Young People's Non-Fiction Award was renamed the Elsie Locke Award in 2001 to commemorate Elsie’s work as an author and advocate of children’s access to the history of New Zealand. Maureen Birchfield’s biography, Looking for Answers: A Life of Elsie Locke, was published by
Canterbury University Press in 2009.
- Viet-Nam (School Publications Branch, Dept of Education 1963).
- Six Colonies in One Country: New Zealand, 1840–1860 illustrated by Stephen Furton (Govt Printer, 1965).
- The Runaway Settlers illustrated by Antony Maitland (Jonathan Cape; Blackwood & Janet Paul 1965).
- The End of the Harbour illustrated by Kāterina Mataira (Jonathan Cape; Blackwood & Janet Paul 1968).
- Growing Points and Prickles: New Zealand 1920–60 illustrated by Cath Brown (Whitcombe and Tombs 1971).
- Snow to Low Levels: Interaction in a Disaster (Whitcoulls 1976).
- The Boy with the Snowgrass Hair with Ken Dawson, illustrated by Jean Oates, maps by Cath Brown (Whitcoulls 1976).
- Explorer Zach illustrations by David Waddington (Pumpkin Press 1978).
- A Land without Taxes: New Zealand from 1800 to 1840 (School Publications Branch, Dept of Education 1979).
- Journey under Warning illustrated by Margaret Chapman, maps by Libby Plumridge (Oxford University Press 1983).
- A Canoe in the Mist illustrated by John Shelley (Jonathan Cape 1984).
- The Kauri and the Willow: How We Lived and Grew from 1801–1942 (Government Printer 1984).
- Two Peoples, One Land: A History of Aotearoa/New Zealand Especially for Younger Readers (GP Books 1988).
- Joe's Ruby illustrated by Gary Hebley (Cape Catley 1995).