Scholar, critic, writer and activist Betty Gilderdale has her memoir (My Life in Two Halves) coming out next month.
She became a household name for her Little Yellow Digger books, which have sold more than 350,000 copies, and was also The New Zealand Herald’s children’s book reviewer for 25 years, a lecturer in English at Colleges of Education and is the author of more than 10 books. Her published works include the ground-breaking, A Sea Change: 145 Years of New Zealand Junior Fiction, The Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand Literature (Children’s Literature Section), Introducing Margaret Mahy and the biography, The Seven Lives of Lady Barker.
Her memoir spans two countries: some of her most formative years were spent in one of the most heavily bombed areas of London. She worked with Cable and Wireless in Malta before going to London University where she met her husband, Alan. After they married they lived in a Surrey village where their children were born.
The family arrived in New Zealand in 1967 to teach at the Quaker-run Friends School in Wanganui. After its closure they moved to Auckland, where she became a founding member of both the Children’s Literature Association and Children’s Media Watch. Both Betty and Alan were also active in the anti-nuclear protests here and in England.
Betty Gilderdale: My Life in Two Halves is published by David Bateman Ltd.