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Jenny Hessell

Jenny Hessell was born in Inglewood, Taranaki, in 1950 and attended New Plymouth Girls High School. She has a MA (Hons) from Canterbury University and has worked for many years as an English teacher. She currently lives in Sorrento Bay, Eastbourne.

Jenny’s children’s books are sold internationally, both in English and in translation. They have been published in the School Journal, broadcast on National Radio, and adapted for the stage.
Selected bibliography:
  • What’s Wrong with Bottoms? illustrated by Mandy Nelson (Century Hutchinson 1987).
  • Our Baby Doesn’t illustrated by Craig Smith (Omnibus/Penguin 1988).
  • Our Baby Helps illustrated by Craig Smith (Omnibus/Penguin 1988).
  • Our Baby Gets Dressed illustrated by Craig Smith (Omnibus/Penguin 1988).
  • Rebecca’s Babies illustrated by Mandy Nelson (Century Hutchinson 1988).
  • Ripeka’s Carving illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa (Shortland 1988).
  • Daniel illustrated by Diane Beck (Shortland 1988).
  • Surprise Cake illustrated by Jenni Webb (Shortland 1988).
  • The Present illustrated by Philip Webb (Shortland 1988).
  • Now Listen, Stanley, illustrated by Ann Skelly (Shortland 1988).
  • Staying at Sam’s illustrated by Jenny Williams (Collins UK 1989).
  • Nobody’s Perfect illustrated by Mandy Nelson (Century Hutchinson 1989).
  • Secret Soup illustrated by Lyn Kriegler (Shortland 1989).
  • Goodnight, Little Brother, illustrated by Lyn Kriegler (Shortland 1989).
  • Wrinkles photography by Alan Gillard (Shortland 1989).
  • A Lollipop Please illustrated by Lyn Kriegler (Shortland 1989).
  • Dump Bear illustrated by John Hurford (Random Century 1990).
  • Morning Talk illustrated by Kelvin Hawley (Ashton Scholastic 1990).
  • Grandma McGarvey illustrated by Trevor Pye (Oxford University Press 1990).
  • Shiver Me Timbers illustrated by Tracey Clark (Nelson Price Milburn 1990).
  • Fred and Edna through the Hedge illustrated by Elspeth Williamson (Nelson Price Milburn 1990).
  • Non-stop Spaghetti illustrated by Caroline Campbell (Nelson Price Milburn 1990).
  • Grandma McGarvey Paints the Shed illustrated by Trevor Pye (Ashton Scholastic 1992).
  • Pop’s Pound illustrated by Linda McClelland (Nelson Price Milburn 1992).
  • Grandma McGarvey Goes to Sea illustrated by Trevor Pye (Ashton Scholastic 1994).
  • Clouds illustrated by Betina Ogden (Nelson Australia 1994).
  • Troublesome Snout illustrated by Stephen Axelson (Nelson Australia 1994).
  • Grandma McGarvey Takes a Dive illustrated by Trevor Pye (Scholastic 1998).
  • Grandma McGarvey Goes to School illustrated by Trevor Pye (Scholastic 1999).
  • Grandma McGarvey Goes to the Zoo illustrated by Trevor Pye (Scholastic 2005).
  • Grandma McGarvey and the Treasure Hunt illustrated by Trevor Pye (Scholastic 2006).
  • Grandma McGarvey Goes Camping illustrated by Trevor Pye (Scholastic 2006).
  • Grandma McGarvey Joins the Scrum illustrated by Trevor Pye (Scholastic 2007).
  • Grandma McGarvey and the Puddle Street Gang illustrated by Trevor Pye (Scholastic 2009).
  • Grandma McGarvey Surfs the Net illustrated by Trevor Pye (Scholastic 2011).
  • Phoebe and the Night Creatures illustrated by Donovan Bixley (Scholastic 2011).
  • Grandma McGarvey’s Christmas illustrated by Trevor Pye (Scholastic 2012).
  • ‘At Bishop Park’ (poem) in Eastbourne: An Anthology edited by Mary McCallum (Makora Press 2013).
  • Choysa Bursary for Children’s Writers 1987. 
  • Goodman Fielder Wattie Award Special Commendation 1988 for What’s Wrong with Bottoms?
  • AIM Children’s Book Awards 1992 Picture Book Honour Award for Grandma McGarvey Paints the Shed.
  • Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award 2014 for Grandma McGarvey.


Storylines Trust Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki and Friends of Storylines Te Pou o Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki together form New Zealand’s only national organisation working year-round to promote New Zealand children’s and young adult literature through activities that include a major national Story Tour to schools, early childhood centres and communities, and awards for writers, illustrators and those who work in the area of New Zealand children’s literature



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