Jenny writes New Zealand history stories for children, each story focusing on a famous New Zealander and teaching a different character quality. Her stories can be used with any age group from 8 years up.
Jenny loves children and her goal in writing is to give them good role models, a sense of national pride, to grow their love of history, and in some way work towards racial reconciliation and harmony in New Zealand.
Jenny’s first published book, Battle at the Gate, tells the story of a brave young Maori woman who risked her life by taking a dying British officer a drink of water. (See reviews below.) It was published by Raupo, a division of Penguin, in 2008 and illustrated by Bruce Potter.
Jenny, a primary teacher for 10 years, is now a home schooling mum. She has been on the Bookrapt Committee for the last two years and a member of the Tauranga Writers for Children. Her work has been published in magazines and newspapers, and she has a story in an anthology, "25 More Stories for Kiwi Kids".
Jenny Jenkins (nee Campbell) lives on a kiwifruit orchard on the edge of Tauranga harbour. She and her husband Colin have 5 children, aged from 14 to 23, a 13 yr old Chinese son they adopted from Hong Kong 7 years ago, and a 9yr old Maori foster daughter who has been a member of the family for 5 years. With all seven living at home, her life is very busy.
Jenny says, "I love curling up with my children and reading them an exciting book. When I write, I try to make my stories gripping, with lots of action - enough to hold the attention of even the worst wrigglers."
Reviews of "Battle at the Gate".
Potter’s realistic artwork easily creates a sense of time and place. The strong visual element, however, frees up the author, allowing her to keep the text brief and straightforward. The story of Gate Pa is well known for one woman’s unexpected act of kindness, and its celebration of humanity on the battlefield makes it particularly well suited to the child market. Understanding that the NZ wars were mostly brutal and bloody will make this book all the more poignant. Simple text with more sophisticated content.
Bay of Plenty Times.
Review by editor (at the time), Craig Nicholson.
There is something quite magical about reading a children’s book that is based in our region. And a story based on the truth is even better. Matapihi author Jenny Jenkins has captured the spirit of the infamous Battle of Gate Pa through the eyes of a young Maori woman. Heni Te Kirikaramu watched as British troops attacked her tribe’s fortress and saw the counterattack that left many soldiers wounded and left behind. Rather than show the inhumanity of war, Heni tended to the injured soldiers in the battle’s aftermath. Battle at the Gate brings to life an important part of Tauranga’s history and, through the words and illustrations, will help educate today’s youngsters about yesterday’s events. It’s a picture book we can all be proud of.
Jenny’s stories may be purchased by e-mail.
She has written character stories about the following New Zealanders: