Beck, Jennifer

Beck, Jennifer

Information

residence
Auckland
Primary publisher
Scholastic New Zealand

In Brief

A former teacher and psychologist, Jennifer Beck is the author of more than 45 children’s books, many of which are still in print. She is the recipient of numerous prizes. Her picture book The Bantam and the Soldier won the Picture Book Category and the Book of the Year Award in the 1997 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, and in 2006 she won the Children's Choice Award, voted for by more than 30,000 children throughout New Zealand.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beck, Jennifer (1939 –) is a children's writer.

A former teacher and psychologist, Beck is the author of more than 50 children's books, many of which are still in print. Learning Media journal stories include No More Cats (2008). Other titles include The Special Visitors (1987); The Choosing Day (1988); B.M.X. Billy (1989); Mrs Bold (1989); No Bullies at Our School (1996); Nothing to be scared about (1997); Wolf! Wolf! (1997); The Circle Shell (2000); Welcome (2002); Taking Turns (2006); and Snowboards - Inventing the Sport (2008). Whetu: the Little Blue Duck (Duck Creek Press), illustrated by Renee Haggo, and Gypsy Day on the Farm (New Holland), illustrated by Lisa Allen, were published in 2011. Sam Goes Wild (New Holland) was illustrated by Jenna Packer, and published in 2012.

The Bantam and the Soldier (1996), illustrated by Robyn Belton, won Best Picture Book and Book of the Year Award at the 1997 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Judges described The Bantam and the Soldier, in which a World War I soldier finds and keeps a bantam hen, as 'a touching and heartfelt idea portrayed with startling authenticity.'

Crash! The Search for the Stinson won an Honour Award in the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2000.

One reviewer writes 'It is very significant that Jennifer Beck has written that "the adults in my stories tend to contribute to the magic and fun of childhood"... It is one of the great attractions of her books that adults and children enjoy life together.'

The Christmas Caravan (2002) was shortlisted for the 2003 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and was listed as a 2003 Storylines Notable Picture Book.

John Britten: The Boy Who Did Do Better was published by Scholastic in 2004. A Ducati motorcycle wins the Battle of the Twins race but the second placing is a surprise - an almost unknown motorcycle called a Britten. Aimed at 6-14 year olds, this book is an inspirational story for students who are struggling at school. John Britten: The Boy Who Did Do Better was a finalist in the non-fiction category for the 2005 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. It was also a finalist for The Elsie Locke Award at the 2005 LIANZA Children's Book Awards, and was listed as a 2005 Storylines Notable Non-Fiction Book.

Nobody's Dog (2005), illustrated by Lindy Fisher, won the Children's Choice Award at the 2006 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, voted for by more than 30,000 children throughout New Zealand. The work was also nominated in the picture book category for the same awards, and was listed as a 2006 Storylines Notable Picture Book.

Working again with Lindy Fisher, Beck wrote A Present from the Past, which won an Honour Award in the Picture Book Category of the 2007 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The work was also listed as a 2007 Storylines Notable Picture Book.

Stefania's Dancing Slippers (Scholastic, 2007) is the third collaboration between Beck and Fisher. It is a story about the Polish orphans who reached New Zealand's shores in the spring of 1944. This multi-level picture book received a Silver medal in the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards 2008 (USA). The original art work is featured in the Polish Heritage Trust Museum in Howick, Auckland.

In 2010, Beck wrote and illustrated her first book, Rufus the Rooster (Polygraphia). Also that year, Beck’s story Remember That November, about the peaceful Parihaka resistance in 1881, was chosen to represent New Zealand at the IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Book Festival in Korea.

Remember That November / Maumahara ki tera Naema
, written by Jennifer Beck, illustrated by Lindy Fisher, and translated by Kawata Teepa was published by Huia in 2012. Remember That November / Maumahara ki tera Naema was a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards in the Picture Book category.

Beck was announced as the 2015 University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence, to be shared with Robyn Belton.

MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS

Updated September 2014.