Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand | Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki o Aotearoa


Jean Bennett

Jean Bennett, a writer and journalist, and mother of six children, has been passionate about writing since she was a young child. A teacher inspired her to find a talent and use it, and Jean discovered and put to use her ability to write. She has in turn spent much of her adult life encouraging young writers. Since then, over 100,000 copies of The Writing Book have been published and The Call of the Selkie was included in the 1999 New Zealand Children’s Book Foundation Notable Book List. She also has other books and readers published by educational publishing companies both in New Zealand and overseas and has written features for New Zealand magazines including Treasures and Kiwikids.

Jean has also produced educational resource kits for the Bay of Plenty Times and was their Newspapers-in -Education Coordinator for four years. Her stories have been broadcast on radio on  Once upon a Twice, Grampa’s Place and EARS, and two stories have been commissioned for television.

In 1995 Jean visited schools in the Auckland region on the Storylines Festival Story Bus Tour. She was also an author touring on the Zespri 2000 Lifestyles Festival Story Bus. Jean was awarded life membership of the Bay of Plenty Children’s Literature Association in 2001 for her contribution to their activities and has also been the recipient of a Creative NZ children’s authors grant and a QEII Arts Council children’s author’s project grant. Jean has been a member of the Writers-In-Schools scheme for over 15 years. Jean Bennett was presented with the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for services to children’s literature in 2003.

Selected bibliography:

  • The Writing Book: How To Write Letters, Projects, Stories, Poems, Plays and Much More, illustrated by Christine Dale (Ashton Scholastic 1989)
  • The Information Book (Ashton Scholastic 1993)
  • The Call of the Selkie (Shortland Publications 1999)
  • Below the Mountains: The Diary of Amy McDonald, Milford Road, 1935–36 [My Story series] (Scholastic 2005)


  • Storylines Notable Book Awards 2000 Junior Fiction List for The Call of the Selkie
  • Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award 2003
  • New Zealand Book Council’s International Writers’ Programme 2008

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