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Betty Gilderdale, beloved author of ‘The Little Yellow Digger’ has passed away at 97

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Betty Gilderdale, beloved author of ‘The Little Yellow Digger’ has passed away at 97

The children's book author passed away just days before her 98th birthday. 

Betty Gilderdale, beloved author of ‘The Little Yellow Digger’ has passed away at 97

Betty Gilderdale, the author of New Zealand’s much-loved Little Yellow Digger picture books, passed away on 9 July, at the age of 97.

Gilderdale is considered one of New Zealand’s most cherished children’s book authors, with the original Little Yellow Digger book, which she created alongside her artist husband Alan, having printed over half a million copies.

Betty and Alan moved from England to New Zealand in 1967 and she went on to teach at North Shore Teachers’ Training College and in Auckland University’s Department of Continuing Education.

Alongside her children’s books, Gilderdale wrote a number of non-fiction books, including the acclaimed biographies of Lady Barker and Margaret Mahy. She also published her own biography, My Life in Two Halves, in 2012.

In a statement, Scholastic New Zealand said The Little Yellow Digger “stands out as one of New Zealand’s all-time bestselling children’s picture books, a wonderful legacy to leave to the world of children’s publishing. It is a legacy that is being continued by their son Peter, who has taken up the mantle of writing new books in the series.”

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