About me

Image of Tania Sickling

I grew up with my brother and sisters on a farm near Morrinsville, Waikato, New Zealand. I had lots of time and space for creative play, to venture into any world I cared to imagine, to draw, to write or to read about.

Sometimes I’d get stuck in one of those worlds! At school I was once so lost in a book that I didn’t notice reading time was over, or that mat time had begun, or that mat time was over… Only when my desk started moving did I look up. I thought it was an earthquake! In fact, everyone was pushing the furniture aside for dancing.

As a child, I had many, many favourite books. I loved poetry and folktales, and each new edition of The New Zealand School Journal.

My favourite books to write in were small school exercise books with pages that were partly ruled and partly blank.

These were for writing and illustrating your own works, perhaps stories, perhaps science studies. I loved them – although I did once get into trouble for illustrating an entire notebook without writing a single word of story!

My life now

I still sketch and draw now and again, but I jot down story ideas all the time.

The best fun happens when an idea takes on a life of its own, becoming a world of freewheeling characters speaking through my scrawly handwriting. I write for the same reason I read: to find out what comes next.

In recent years I have been introduced to a whole new world of children’s literature through my own children, who regularly bring fantastic new books home from school.

I studied literature and linguistics at the University of Auckland, and have lived in the UK and Australia. My employment background is mainly in teaching ESOL and literacy to adult learners.

Kayaks at our local beach

I live with my husband and three children north of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, close to the beach and near enough to head back to the Waikato whenever I can.

Portrait photo by Warwick Sickling