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About the book
  • Published: 28 March 2016
  • ISBN: 9780143507208
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $19.99

Gladys Goes to War


Formats & editions


A stunning picture book from the award-winning Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper, bringing us the incredible true story of Gladys Sandford – mechanic, First World War ambulance driver, New Zealand's first woman pilot and a trailblazer ahead of her time . . .

A stunning picture book from the award-winning Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper, bringing us the incredible true story of Gladys Sandford – mechanic, First World War ambulance driver, New Zealand's first woman pilot and a trailblazer ahead of her time . . .

Gladys loves nothing better than tinkering with car engines and driving at top speed. She also dreams of learning to fly a plane. But it's 1914 and people, especially her mother, keep reminding her that women are not supposed to be adventurous. When war comes, Gladys offers her services at the front as an ambulance driver. She receives an infuriating response from the War Office:
'This will be a short war and women will not be needed. If you want to help the war effort you should stay at home and knit socks and balaclavas.'
But Gladys is not the kind of person who stays home and knits. She is determined to go to war.
**********
There are many stories about men who enlisted and courageously fought for their ideals. In Gladys Goes to War, the award-winning team of Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper brings us the amazing true story of Gladys Sandford, ambulance driver, adventurer and trailblazer. Amongst her lifetime of heroic achievements, she actively served in the First World War and was the first female to gain a pilot's licence in New Zealand.
Glyn Harper discovered and researched Gladys's story and his account of her exciting life will captivate children of all ages. Brought to life with Jenny Cooper's exuberant illustrations, Glady Goes to War will cause readers to wonder why they haven't heard of Gladys before now.

  • Pub date: 28 March 2016
  • ISBN: 9780143507208
  • Imprint: Picture Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 32
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Authors

Glyn Harper

Glyn Harper is Professor of War Studies at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He is Massey's Project Manager of the Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War. A former teacher, he joined the Australian Army in 1988 and after eight years transferred to the New Zealand Army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Glyn was the army's official historian for the deployment to East Timor and is the author of numerous history books, including Kippenberger: An Inspired New Zealand Commander; In the Face of the Enemy: The complete history of the Victoria Cross and New Zealand; Dark Journey: Three Key Battles of the Western Front; Images of War: World War One: A Photographic Record of New Zealanders at War 1914–1918 and his most recent Letters from Gallipoli: New Zealand Soldiers Write Home. He has written a number of children's books, of which Le Quesnoy, Jim's Letters and Roly, the Anzac Donkey are the most recently published. In 2015 Glyn and illustrator Jenny Cooper won the Best Picture Book Award at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, as well as a Storylines Notable Picture Book Award, for Jim's Letters, a moving story about a correspondence between two brothers during the First World War.
Speaking about writing stories for children in an interview with the Manawatu Standard in 2018, Glyn said, ‘‘I think history is immensely important. Having a sense of the past and what has created the nation as it is today is very important for young people. If
stories can do that, I think they are serving
a good purpose.’’

Jenny Cooper

Jenny Cooper is an award-winning and prolific illustrator of more than 70 children’s books, and says she finds each new title “completely different and a new adventure”. Noted for being an exceptionally versatile, characterful and exuberant illustrator, the judges of the 2015 LIANZA Children and Young Adult Book Awards praised Jenny for the “multitude of talents in her basket of goodies . . . she is able to draw a variety of animals convincingly well; her command of emotional drawing is also superb. The depth of feeling in the faces of her characters brings tears to the reader’s eyes. She is surely envied by other illustrators.” Jenny’s recent work includes a series of critically acclaimed First World War picture books with text by Glyn Harper – Roly, the Anzac Donkey, Jim’s Letters and Le Quesnoy: The Story of the Town New Zealand Saved – and the beautiful A Treasury of New Zealand Poems for Children edited by Paula Green. In 2015 Jenny was honoured as one of New Zealand’s foremost illustrators with the presentation of The Arts Foundation Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award. The award’s patron Ann Mallinson declared her the “perfect recipient”, saying that “Whether a pencil sketch or a realistic, photographic based style, Jenny’s illustrations jump out of the page with an invigorating spirit . . . Jenny is a greatly admired and very experienced artist who has illustrated a large number of picture books. Her work is always of the highest standard. She can tackle any subject, and if it requires more than her wonderful imagination, she will do thorough research.” In August 2015 Jim’s Letters, Jenny's and author Glyn Harper’s memorable depiction of a World War One correspondence between two brothers, one a soldier in Gallipoli and the other at home on their Central Otago farm, won the Picture Book category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Jenny has also won a number of Storylines Notable Book Awards — for A Treasury of New Zealand Poems for Children edited by Paula Green (2015); Jim’s Letters with Glyn Harper (2015); Ria the Reckless Wrybill with Jane Buxton (2011); A. W. Reed’s classic Illustrated Myths and Legends of the Pacific (2008); The Mad Tadpole Adventure with Melanie Drewery (2008); Duck Walk with Joy Cowley (2003); The Great Pavlova Cover-up edited by Jo Noble (2002); and The Wooden Fish with Tim Tipene (2000). Jenny lives in Amberley, near Christchurch.


Praise for Gladys Goes to War

“For children, [Gladys's story] wakes up their natural sense of injustice - it's just plain unfair to tell somebody they can't do something based on their gender and it opens up a discussion that is probably as valid now as it was in 1916... Clearly Glyn Harper has developed great faith in illustrator Jenny Cooper to not only bring the story to life but to represent the historical details correctly... These are stunning pictures - it's a beautiful book.”

John McIntyre, Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan Children's Book Review

“A fabulous, heart-warming ANZAC Day book for children...Gladys was a pioneering woman who showed us that we can do anything...This beautifully written book is a must read!”

Paula Green, NZ Poetry Box


Awards & Recognition

  • Storylines Notable Picture Book

    Notable Book • 2017 • Storylines Notable Book


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