the blog

my books

I currently write for both children and adults, across varying genres including blogging, print and online articles, book reviews, journalling or squirreling words into my next manuscript. I have been writing professionally for over 25 years and have penned over a thousand articles and reviews for magazines and websites. I can't imagine my life without the sound of a keyboard clacking.

Click to read reviews.

If you would like to organise an author visit, I can read and present to schools, libraries and organisations on topics including storywriting, picture book creation, self-publishing and marketing.

See author visits/speaking for more.

You can also see my works in progress

kids' books.
Scroll down, or take your pick ...
Peas in a Pod
This is Captain Cook
Tottie and Dot
An Aussie Year: Twelve months in the life of Australian Kids
Caroline Chisholm: The Emigrant's Friend
Eco Warriors to the Rescue!
Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo: A journey around Canberra
Australian Story: An illustrated timeline
Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A journey around Melbourne
Riley and the Curious Koala: A journey around Sydney
Riley and the Dancing Lion: A journey around Hong Kong
Riley and the Sleeping Dragon: A journey around Beijing

adult books.
Scroll down, or take your pick ...
Beijing Tai Tai: life, laughter and motherhood in China's capital
Handmade Living: A designer collective
You Name It


Peas in a Pod - OUT JUNE!
(June 2015, EK Books, $24.99, hard cover, 9781921966712)

Pippa, Pia, Poppy, Polly and Peg are quintuplets. Since birth, they’ve done everything the same — cry, eat, sleep, sit. But as they get a little older, things start to change. Now they want to do things differently — very differently. Can Mum and Dad keep their little girls as matching peas in a pod, or will those five very individual personalities win out in the end?

Gorgeous illustrations perfectly complement this simple yet highly entertaining storyline. Sure to be enjoyed by kids and their parents!

Learn more about Peas in a Pod on the website! The book will be launching at the Asian Festival of Children's Content in Singapore this June.

Teachers' Notes Now Available

This is Captain Cook
(March 2015, National Library Publishing, $24.99, hard cover, 9780642278692)
Captain James Cook loved to sail. He loved making maps (he was very good at it, too) and he particularly loved shiny buttons. In this charming picture book, little ones can celebrate the life of a great mariner and true adventurer.

Join Miss Batts and her class as they tell the story of Captain Cook with a humorous and whimsical school play that’s sure to engage the very young. We see the class act out the story of Cook: as a boy watching ships on the horizon, sailing to Canada, then to Tahiti and on to New South Wales (spot the escaping chicken in each of the scenes!). Kids will discover that Captain Cook was the first European to cross the Antarctic Circle and they’ll also learn that on his final journey, he never came home again.

Parents, carers and teachers will smile at the familiar set-up of the chaotic school play and the inventive props, and enjoy eavesdropping on the audience as they interact with the performance. At the back of the book, walk through ‘Cook’s Gallery’ and see real life paintings of Cook, his ship and his travels.

This is Captain Cook has sold out before publication! But you can order your copy here, and if you live in Canberra, copies will be available at the National Library bookshop from 1 Feb!

'I have never seen history presented for young children in such an entertaining and appealing way.' - author Dee White

Teachers' Notes now available!


Tottie and Dot 
(Sep 2014, EK Books, $24.99, hard cover, 9781921966491)

Tottie and Dot live side by side. They drink marshmallow tea in the morning. Side-by-side. They water blooms in the afternoon garden. Side-by-side. They make speckled eggs for tea. Side-by-side.

All is calm and peaceful until, one day, things change between Tottie and Dot. 

Who can create the prettiest house? And at what cost?

A fresh, fun and strikingly-illustrated book that will delight both adults and children.

After their bestselling An Aussie Year, this is the second title from this dynamic new picture book duo.

Teachers' Notes now available!


WINNER! ACT Writing and Publishing Awards 2014
BESTSELLER! An Aussie Year: Twelve Months in the Life of Australian Kids 
(Oct 2013, EK Books, $19.99, hard cover, 9781921966248)

Meet Ned, Lily, Zoe, Kirra and Matilda––five Aussie kids keen to take you on a journey through a year in the life of Australian children, from cultural celebrations to traditions and events, to our everyday way of life.

An Aussie Year is a picture book bursting with national pride. It is a snapshot of who we are as a nation, covering our melting-pot culture, lifestyle and traditions. Its pages feature trailing, meandering text, dates and gorgeous illustrations showing our five Aussie children at play, at school, at home, enjoying their homeland––from the tropical north to our rugged west.

Trailing through the seasons and idiosyncrasies endemic to each month of the year, this is Our Australian Childhood.

Teachers' Notes

Caroline Chisholm: The Emigrant's Friend 
(Oct 2013, New Frontier, $14.95, paperback, 9781921928482)

‘If Captain James Cook discovered Australia––if John Macarthur planted the first seeds of its extraordinary prosperity––if Ludwig Leichhardt penetrated and explored its before unknown interior––Caroline Chisholm has done much more: she has peopled–she alone has colonised in the true sense of the term.’
—Henry Parkes’s Empire newspaper, 15 August 1859

The fifth book in the Aussie Heroes series of junior historical fiction, Caroline Chisholm is an illustrated chapter book for children aged 8 - 12, and covers the remarkable life and work of one our Australia's greatest heroines. Features beautiful illustrations by Pat Reynolds.

Teachers' Notes

Equal Second Place, Canberra Uni's Get Real Canberra Awards for Outstanding Picture Book, February 2014

Riley and the Jumpy Roo: A journey around Canberra 
(Ford Street Publishing, Aug 2013, $22.95 hard cover 9781925000023, $16.95 paperback 9781925000030)

While visiting the nation's capital, Riley encounters a very jumpy kangaroo, frantically searching for something she's lost. Bounding around the iconic sights of Canberra, can this roo finally find what she's been looking for?

Featuring black and white photos of Canberra's very best monuments and sights, Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo combines photos, illustrations, adorable characters, humour and an adventuresome storyline in a travelogue-style book that showcases the capital at its very best. In celebration of the Centenary of Canberra, 2013.

Teachers' Notes 

Eco Warriors to the Rescue! 
(National Library Publishing, Aug 2013, $17.99, paper hardback  9780642277800)

Join Banjo, Matilda and Ned on a magical adventure into the Australian native landscape via a series of historic, beautifully-rendered botanical paintings.

Entering the very pages of their favourite book, the children interact with all manner of Australian flora including Kangaroo Paw, Wattle and Eucalypt. Along the way, these intrepid warriors seek ‘tips’ to ensure the survival of our native landscape for generations to come.

Can these eco-warriors help save our native flora from extinction?

Teachers' Notes 

Beijing Tai Tai: life, laughter and motherhood in China's capital
(Exisle Publishing, $24.99, April 2012, 9781921966156) 

'...intelligent, wise, evocative and laugh out loud hilarious; beautiful comic timing ...' - author Jen Storer

'I feel like everyone should know about Beijing Tai Tai ... it's the Eat Pray Love for mothers.' - author Dee White

Intensely personal, at times a little controversial, Beijing Tai Tai is a rollercoaster ride of honesty and openness as a wife (tai tai) and mother juggles suburban family life in urban Beijing. Presented in a series of love/hate column-like snippets - on topics ranging from the consumption of bull testicles to the life-altering experience of walking the Great Wall - it exposes expatriate life in a country on the brink of great change.

From tragic hair moments and bustling silk markets to China's quest to stay true to its ancient origins, Beijing Tai Tai is a book for anyone interested in this diverse and culturally rich country. It's for anyone from anywhere who knows what it's like to fall in love, explore new worlds and live with challenges. It's about life in a city full of soaring highs and disconsolate lows - but never anything less than remarkable.

Head to the Beijing Tai Tai website for photos, blog entries, and to see a video of Tania talking about Beijing Tai Tai. 

This book rewrites the myth of the full-time expat mother. - Lee Mack, Managing Editor, City Weekend Beijing

Both funny and insightful, McCartney's utterly honest account is a must-read for anyone with an interest in China, in refreshingly frank memoir or in the subject of motherhood - whichever country you choose to learn it in. - Jenny Niven, Associate Director, The Wheeler Centre

In Beijing Tai Tai, McCartney skilfully blends amusing anecdotes, personal family moments and the joys and frustrations of parenthood with glimpses of Beijing and China as seen through the eyes of an intelligent and insightful, well-travelled observer. - Susan Whelan, World Literatures Feature Writer, Suite 101

This book was so much fun! I laughed out loud a number of times . . . I shook my head at the antics of the Ayi . . . I shopped alongside the author . . . my heart broke at the tears she shed over her departed mother. I also marvelled at the adaptability of her children in a foreign land and smiled to see them grow regardless into young Aussies. - Ingrid Jonach, author

I do adore Tai Tai. It's wonderful. The insights are at times deep, at times just fun, and the whole book is a joy. - Jackie French, author

McCartney writes with verve and wit about her experiences as a 'tai tai' . . . a series of essays/magazine columns/journal entries, rather than one ongoing narrative . . . that add up together to create one spicy, sweet, tangy whole. - Alexa Moses, author

Served in small, tantalisingly easy to digest morsels, each piece of Tania's four year residency in Beijing left my mouth watering for more. Each bite was impressively seasoned with raw emotion, succulent insights and a crisp candour, positively crackling with humour. Some portions were able to be wolfed down quickly in eager expectation of the next dish. Others allowed more time to savour the vivid and sometimes not so savoury aspects of being an Expat in one of China's most beguiling cities. - Dimity Powell, author

Beijing Tai Tai is also available as an e-book, $9.99. Click the image to BUY.

Australian Story: an illustrated timeline 
(National Library of Australia, $19.99, 1 April 2012, 9780642277459)

Take a trip into the past––from the explosive beginnings of our planet through the formation of the Australian landscape, the deeply entrenched history of our Indigenous people and past the white-sailed ships of the First Fleet to modern day Australia, in this fascinating journey through time.

Featuring succinct entries on historical moments over the past 47 billion years, Australian Story covers such topics as ecological change, social upheaval, politics, invention, the industrial age, war, immigration, celebration, culture and modern technology––and presents it in a way that is visual, fun and thoroughly entertaining for Key Stage I and II children.

Illustrated with a striking collection of photographs and images from the NLA’s digital collection, this is history for children like never before. A fascinating snapshot of our country, Australian Story tells who we once where, who we are today . . . and where we are going.

Ask your local bookstore, drop into National Library of Australia bookshop or buy from their online store.

Teachers' Notes


Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A journey around Melbourne 
(Ford Street Publishing, Sep 2011, $22.95 hard cover 9781921665486, $16.95 paperback 9781921665493) 

Riley has discovered a wombat in his nanny’s garden. But why is this furry creature so grumpy? Join Riley and his friends from books one, two and three, as they zoom around the stunning sights of Melbourne in search of a wombat that simply needs a place to call home.

Featuring gorgeous black and white photos of Melbourne and surrounds, Riley and the Grumpy Wombat combines photos, illustrations, adorable characters, humour and an adventuresome storyline in a travelogue-style book that showcases Melbourne at its very best.

Teachers' Notes

I just loved the book design and... I just wanted to congratulate you on a terrific and innovative book. - author Di Bates


handmade living: a designer collective

(Handmade Press, A$39.95, Dec 2010, 9780980475043)  

handmade living. – a designer collective is a stunning collection of projects and inspirational ideas from some of Australia’s most talented handmade artisans, designers and craftspeople. This gorgeous collective features over 70 projects that will have handmade aficionados everywhere firing up their sewing machines and melting chocolate. Featuring seven sections from homewares to children and food, handmade living. is not only a visual delight, its collection of beautiful projects and articles will suit anyone keen to create something whimsically precious and simply wonderful.

Riley and the Curious Koala: A journey around Sydney 
(Tania McCartney Press, A$16.95, Nov 2010, 9780980475036) 

Following in the Riley series of travel adventure books, Riley and the Curious Koala takes our little aviator on a journey around the beautiful landmarks of Sydney, in search of a strange and elusive fuzzy creature.

With stunning black and white photos of Sydney's beaches and glorious harbour, even in the torrential rain, this whirlwind trip showcases this gorgeous city at its best.

Riley and the Curious Koala is illustrated once again by the illustrious Kieron Pratt. It is the third book in the very popular Riley travelogue series for little ones.

Teachers' Notes

"It's a superb book and a brilliant series concept - can think of a least a dozen kids I'd love to give it to who'd get so much from it." - author Jackie French


Riley and the Dancing Lion: A journey around Hong Kong 
(Tania McCartney Press, A$16.95, Nov 2009, 9780980475029

Riley and the Dancing Lion is the second book in this multimedia travelogue series for kids.

After travelling to Beijing in book one - Riley and the Sleeping Dragon - Riley now sets his sights on Hong Kong, in search of the traditional dancing lion that is found during Chinese New Year.

Follow Riley across this amazing city and surrounds, as he discovers many types of dancing lion in his quest to find the true lion that heralds a bright new year. But is this traditional lion really what he appears to be? Featuring hilarious illustrations by Canberra illustrator Kieron Pratt, kids will adore finding an impressive line up of kooky dancing lions.

Teachers' Notes


Riley and the Sleeping Dragon: A journey around Beijing
(Tania McCartney Press, A$16.95, Nov 2008, 9780980475005
BUY A SIGNED COPY (limited quantity available)

A unique, multimedia picture book, Riley and the Sleeping Dragon follows the magical journey of Riley as he searches Beijing for the elusive sleeping dragon of China. Metaphorical, historical and adventuresome, kids can tour the ancient sites of Beijing while searching for this very special, traditional creature.

Featuring stunning black and white photos of Beijing and gorgeous illustrations by Mo Qovaizi, this book is the first in a travelogue series for 0-8 year olds. Riley and the Sleeping Dragon was featured in the Australian Bookseller Association's Kids Reading Guide 2009/2010.

You Name It
(Hodder Headline Australia, Nov 1995, out of print)

Published by Hodder Headline Australia in 1995 (under the name Tania Winter Buck), this book is a unique collection of baby names, with origins and meanings, as well as a collection of unusual, thematic names. The book also covers the history of the naming process.

works in progress

  • An English Year, EK Books, with illustrator Tina Snerling (September 2015)
  • A Scottish Year, EK Books, with illustrator Tina Snerling (September 2015)
  • Australian Kids Through the Years for the National Library with illustrator Andrew Joyner (October 2015)
  • Smile Cry, EK Books, with illustrator Jess Racklyeft (2016)
  • My first self-illustrated book! (2017)
  • Three more picture books for the National Library, with Christina Booth
  • a junior fiction series Ella McZoo: Animal Whisperer
  • a junior fiction series Ava Bloom
  • a junior fiction series Molly Meander 
  • some secret squirrel business
  • several thousand picture books
  • a bit of adult fiction and non-fiction

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