Australia Map--it's a puzzle!

Friday, 12 April 2019

Sometimes, you just have addictions, you know? Picture books, handbags, puzzles. I LOVE puzzles. Totally surreal, then, to sit at a table and do your own puzzle! (By the way, this photo, above was taken on a table, with me standing on it!)

Thanks to the gorgeous peeps at Hardie Grant Travel, my Australia Illustrated Map has been converted to the pieced-up form--252 pieces, to be exact. I've already made it three times and it's so much fun, especially as I drive my son nuts by knowing where most things are located!

Australia Map Puzzle will be on the shelves 1 June, in bookstores or online, and you can pre-order a copy right here. The puzzle pieces come in a lovely sturdy box, and on the front of the box is a 12-page booklet with fun facts the kids can work through as they make the puzzle.

Here are some more pics, and you can read the product blurb right here. Happy puzzling!

This is Home : Essential Australian Poems for Children launch wrap-up

Monday, 8 April 2019

Yesterday, at the National Library of Australia, a sea of poetry-loving peeps descended to celebrate the official launch of This is Home: Essential Australian Poems for Children. It truly was the most beautiful gathering--there was some poetic magic in the air.

Publisher Susan Hall opened proceedings, then the amazing Margaret Hamilton, who had travelled all the way from the Blue Mountains, launched the book. She spoke so eloquently while simultaneously having us laughing, as she is wont to do. Jackie then spoke, and as always, had the entire audience enchanted. Even the children were enthralled, and a friend's young son later expressed he was brought to tears by her beautiful words. Says it all.

I spoke briefly before handing the mic to the gorgeous poets in attendance, some who had travelled from far flung places. In order of left to right in the following photos: Stephen Whiteside, Libby Hathorn, Janeen Brian, Geoff Page, Chris Cheng, Jackie Hosking and young local poet Leo Barnard. Absolute literary legends in this group, and such beautiful people. I am fiercly clutching my book copy, signed by all poets (except Geoff, but I hope to have him sign it in the future, along with any other poets I encounter!). It's now a treasured possession, that's for sure.

What struck me, as the event unfolded and as the poets read their work, was how utterly engrossed the children were. Even the very young. They were also super calm and relaxed, lounging on the floor cushions and drinking in the words, as though a soothing balm was washing over them. The event was quite long, yet little eyes, everywhere, were wide with wonder and engagement.

At the end of the poetry spell (did not want it to end!) Jackie and I signed books for--golly, I reckon over an hour. It was so special to meet these poetry lovers and chat and share stories.

Huge thanks to everyone who came along to celebrate This is Home. Thanks to Jackie who travelled all the way from the Araluen Valley, with her painful leg! She is one incredible woman. Thanks to the NLA--to Susan, Candice, Lynda, Amy, Katherine and the rest of the team, for this book and for this beautiful event. A special thank you to Stephen Whiteside for making everyone laugh with delight at his poetic 'performance'. It was an absolute hoot! Thanks, also, to my beautiful friend Stephanie Owen Reeder who was roped into taking pics--they are sensational!

And now--pictures paint a thousand words--so here we go . . .

Hip Hip Hooray! launch birthday party

Saturday, 6 April 2019


Hip Hip Hooray! Happy birthday to our beloved book--Hip Hip Hooray!--with Windy Hollow, which has just this week launched into the world, featuring amazing illustrations by Jess Racklyeft, and the coolest, coolest augmented reality feature!

We launched at the STUNNING new Harry Hartog store at the ANU--mega thanks to friend and The Best Bookseller in the Universe Ever Jimmy Redden, the gorgeous Katarina Pearson and the fab HH team for hosting. It was such a hoot and was the most beautiful, perfect venue.

Huge thanks, too, to everyone who came along to celebrate, and especially to the amazing Nicole Godwin for these brilliant photos, and to my girl Ella and her beau Josh for wrangling the kiddles into pass-the-parcel. Truly, these kids are amazing book-loving dynamos and I simply adore chatting with them; they always make me laugh.

Also, a humble thank you to Julie Long and Lisa Fairlamb for the unexpected and heartfelt gifts--they are just divine and I will treasure them and your words; thank you.

Here is a peek at the shenanigans... and please, if there is a photo of your child here you do not want public, please email me here and I'll remove it, pronto.

So . . . we took a peek at the book's AR pages (videos below) and we overcame a tech hiccup to do so (no wifi on my iPad, doh!) and then we lit a cupcake and sang happy birthday with the help of ACTUAL birthday girl, Cate Whittle, and of course all the kids blew the candle out from where they were sitting, too. On the last page, everyone blew their party blowers--oh, it was festive!

Then the kids played pass-the-parcel and I signed books and got lots of cuddles and laughs and then we ate cake, yes we did, and coloured in (chameleons! thanks, Jess!) and gobbled Easter eggs and the kids nabbed party bags and we all sashayed around in our book-matching party hats.

It really was the loveliest time. Thank you again, everyone--and Harry Hartog--sorry about the crumbs! Jess and Cristina, you were missed.


Goodbye, summer--hello deadlines

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Well, hello, creative people. It's been a wee while since I last wrote. Have been under a bit of a mountain and that will continue for some time, but it's all good! From under the mountain, lots of lovely things have been going on, including the onset of Autumn. Sigh. So happy.

This morning I burrowed into the oversized basket in our spare room, perennially crammed with knits--scarves, beanies, gloves. And I wore a beanie for the first time this year, on our walk around the lake (and no, I'm not being a sook, it was 4 degrees in Canberra this morning!). I sure was cold but this walk warms my heart. I love it so. Every Sunday we do it, my hubster and me. Well, he runs.

So, I'm aware it's not spring, but above you will see a forest of daisies--aren't they superb? They're hiding a little darling who is taking up a lot of my time--Evie. She is a daisy-loving girl and I'm in love with her. I was talking to Cate Whittle recently, for The Happy Book podcast, and she was saying that if you want to write a junior fiction series, you need to fall in love with your characters, and that's just what I've done. I can't wait for you to meet Evie. The books will be out next year.

hip hip hooray something special

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Launching 1 April, Hip Hip Hooray is going to have a very special extra something that kids will love--the pages come to life! Make sure you turn up the sound. #hiphiphooray

upcoming book launches

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Books always tend to come at once.
I'm delighted to be launching two books this April. 
If you're in Canberra, would love to see you there!

summery goodness and birthdays and gardens and books

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Hello! and welcome to my brand new website/social media look. This happened randomly the other day. I was inspired by a pretty font (as is the way with me) and I just went and did a new header. Literally took ten mins--just selected a few illos that make me smile, and bam. Done.

If you're interested in these divine fonts, they are by Tom Chalky, who was offering a font special recently. How could a girl resist? The texture behind my name (this font is 'Bobby Jones Regular') was made by clipping mask in Adobe Illustrator, using the head dress of the flamingo, top right. The loopy font below my name is 'Magnite' ... there is no way to improve this font. It's sheer perfection.

I like to change up my website 'look' every two or three years. I think it keeps things fresh, and anyway, we need to move and change and grow as our careers do, non?

So, how are you? Are you heralding autumn, like me? Already brushing off boots and hauling out the scarves? We had a blistering 8 weeks over Dec/Jan in Canberra, and thankfully, things have really eased off, which much cooler nights and warm (not quite literally burning) days. We've also had some rain, hallelujah. Cannot believe summer is almost over, but, as ever, I'm thankful it's nearing its end.

Suddenly, new books are sneaking up on me, too. This April, I have two new books out ...

Cover reveal - This is Home

Monday, 11 February 2019


Over the past couple of years, I've had the immense pleasure of working on a dream project for the National Library of Australia, alongside the inimitable Jackie French, to produce the most incredibly wonderful poetry book for children, including poets from all times, all walks of life and backgrounds, and featuring poetry from the classic to the whimsical, the modern and the kooky, the humorous and the heart-breaking. What ties all of these creations together is that they are pure Australia, and they will appeal to so very many ages and interests.

Masterfully chosen by Jackie, and also featuring her glorious chapter intros, kids (and adults) will enjoy poems from such luminaries as Oodgeroo Noonuccal, AB Paterson, Henry Lawson, Elizabeth Honey, Alison Lester, Libby Hathorn, Shaun Tan, Andy Griffiths, Omar Musa, Judith Wright, Meg McKinlay and so very many more.

The illustrations for the book were done in both print and digital mediums, and to say that a tonne of love, sweat and tears went into this would be an understatement! At over 150pp, it is one of my most beloved projects yet.

I cannot even believe it's almost here.

The book is out this April, and you can pre-order it right here.

Click more to see a page peek ...

Mamie giclée prints!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

I'm so very excited to (finally!) be offering prints from Mamie.

These 6 x A4 Limited Edition giclée prints (25 of each) will be signed, dated and numbered.

They will be priced at just $70 each, but I'm offering a special introductory price of $40 each, ONLY for the month of February.

Postage to anywhere in Australia is FREE! You can message me if you're super keen to have one sent overseas.

See my Etsy store for details.  

Mamie Peeks

Mamie Sings

Mamie Baby

Mamie Forest

Mamie Wish

Mamie Queen

Hip Hip Hooray! cover reveal

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Hip hip hooray, Hip Hip Hooray! is almost here! Jess Racklyeft and I just loved creating this sequel to Merry Everything! and I can't wait for you to see how these delightful animals celebrate their birthday anniversaries ... all around the world.

The book will be released on 1 April, and watch this space for a children's party event here in Canberra, to celebrate the launch.

You can pre-order your copy right here.

And while you wait, here is a sneak peek at an internal spread.



The big day is almost here. The invitations are sent, the presents made pretty... there's some fun to prepare!

Peek inside the homes of these adorable animals as they celebrate charming birthday traditions - from party hats and pinatas to blowing out the candles... and making a wish. Hip hip hooray!

This picture book, by an award-winning duo, features echidnas in Australia, goats in Canada, sloths in Costa Rica, narwhals in the nippy Barents sea, orangutans in the depths of Borneo, and an entire menagerie of creatures from around the world-sending invitations, wrapping presents, playing party games and of course, prepping the birthday cake for the ultimate annual wish.

Starting on birthday eve and ending as the party hits full swing, this vibrant romp will delight little ones as their very special day comes around... and highlights the importance of family, friends and the heart-warming traditions of childhood.

Scotty Day at Nutcote

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Of course, May has my favourite flower on her doorstep

Sydney, especially its north shore, was my stomping ground in the mid-1980s and early '90s. It was an incredible time of glamour and excess. I still have my diary from that time, and 30 nights of every month were pretty much filled with some fabulous event (yes, even February). Days were for work. Things were a wee spot busy.

Perhaps that's why I failed to visit May Gibbs' beautiful house in Neutral Bay--Nutcote. Sometimes we have bliss on our doorstep and we simply miss it, you know? I don't know why we do that to ourselves. Why do we do that?

I made up for things today.

Hubster and I drove to Nutcote early this morning, where I had three hours of happy. The gorgeous Stephanie greeted me and showed me around. The grounds are superb and of course the house--the house. I stood in wonder.

I touched May's drawing desk. And her writing desk. It was momentous. There may have been tears.

And I imagined her busy by the sweet little studio light dangling from the ceiling, as she often created at night. I saw hand-knitted socks made just for her. I swooped my hand in the sink with its wooden bench and imagined her washing dishes. I pictured her tending the hydrangeas outside the front door, and sitting on the balcony overlooking the Harbour Bridge, the city skyline, the bobbing boats ... and the ferries swooshing by.

The house is magnificent, and testament to May's progressive nature. The architecture is a blending of Georgian, Arts and Crafts and Mediterranean architecture (thank you, Edwina) and hosts many features that were unusual for the time (the house was designed and built in 1924/25 with architect BJ Waterhouse; read more about it here), such as built-in bookshelves and wardrobes, and a large main room that cleverly provided several living spaces.

THE HAPPY BOOK Children's Book Podcast

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Hello, I’m Tania McCartney. I’m an author, illustrator and editor of children’s books. I’ve always wanted to live inside a book, and now I practically do.

I'm here to share with you over thirty years of writing and publishing experience. This is where you'll find insights, insider info, interviews and inspiration to take with you on your kids' book journey. I’ll be discussing the publication journey in all its incarnations—from baby books to young adult literature—from emerging status right through to taking your career up a level.

I’ll share with you my own journey and experience, and will also regularly pick the brains of some amazing people—authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, booksellers, librarians and other industry professionals.

In Series One, we’ll be covering a wealth of ideas, from sowing story seeds through editing, picture book construction and into illustrator journeys. We’ll look at assessments, plotting and planning middle grade, conferences and festivals—there’s just SO much to cover.

As the series of 10 podcasts goes live, you’ll see details of each one listed in the space below. Content will suit both emerging creators and those who’ve been in the game a while.

If you have any questions or comments, you can say hello at

So, let’s get started. Fire up your device, cram in those earbuds and enjoy this foray into the magical world of kids’ book creation. Welcome to this happy place—The Happy Book.

HELLO! Click my pic to learn more about me. Photo by Maree Azzopardi.
What peeps are saying...
Sooo inspiring, meaningful and heartfelt. Listening to them as I create has helped me feel less isolated here in my own little imaginative world. I look forward to each new week!

I'm thoroughly enjoying the Happy Book podcast. Part of today's did more than just resonate with me - I felt the reverberations in my bones. So much so, I took action I've been procrastinating over for several months.

Just tuned into Ep. One! You are always so generous with advice and industry insight, T. A fantastic podcast concept, and one which will benefit creators at any stage of their journey. Bring on Ep. Two!!

Listened to Chapter One this morning- what a lovely inspirational and motivational experience. So excited to have another fabulous Australian Kidlit podcast to delight in!

A gem of warmth, glorious voice giving great advice and reminders. Thanks, Tania. A triumph.

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this! Tania, you're a renaissance woman!

Great content, fabulous advice. I’m looking forward to chapter 2!

Tania this is such a wonderful podcast. Without meaning to use any writer puns, your voice and pacing are perfect. And it's so interesting. Lucky listeners.

You are AMAZING! Just finished listening to both episodes now that it is on iTunes. You magically crammed so much into two episodes. I can't wait to tune in for more.

I absolutely love the The Happy Book podcast and I am definitely looking forward to series two! The information Tania generously shares is invaluable and essential to all, especially aspiring children’s book authors. Now to put all this delicious information to paper.

Seriously, I wish I could listen to it ALL DAY!

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