About MeI've written more than 20 books for middle-grade and young-adult readers. I write both fiction and non-fiction, often choosing topics related to science, pop + read more culture, or social history -- or a combination of the three. I love tales about rogue scientists, obsessed adventurers, and risk-takers who've changed the world.

In my spare time, I play tennis, bake, and read. My favourite meal is breakfast, my favourite color is blue, and my favourite children's book is A Wrinkle in Time.

I grew up in Creston, B.C., but now live in Vancouver with my husband and two children.
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My Work Speaker Info Contact Me
You May Know Me For:
    Literature Types
  • Middle Grade Fiction
  • Middle Grade Nonfiction
  • YA Fiction
  • YA Nonfiction

Published WorksMya's Strategy to Save the World (Middle-grade fiction, Penguin Random House, Spring 2019)
Prince of Pot (Young-adult fiction, Groundwood, Fall 2017)
Shadow Warrior (Middle-grade fiction, Annick, Fall 2017)
Eyes and Spies (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, Spring 2017)
Extreme Battlefields (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, Spring 2016)
DNA Detective (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, Fall 2015)
When the Worst Happens (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, Fall 2014)
50 Body Questions (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, 2014)
Anywhere But Here (Young-adult fiction, Simon and Schuster, 2013)
Seeing Red (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, 2012)
The Low-Down on Denim (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, 2011)
50 Underwear Questions (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, 2011)
50 Poisonous Questions (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, 2011)
50 Burning Questions (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, 2010)
Canadian Boys Who Rocked the World (Middle-grade non-fiction, Whitecap, 2007)
Burn (Young adult non-fiction, Annick, 2007)
Rescues! (Young adult non-fiction, Annick, 2006)
Jared Lester (Middle-grade fiction, Annick, 2006)
The Blue Jean Book (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, 2005)
Fires! (Middle-grade non-fiction, Annick, 2004)
My Time as Caz Hazard (Young-adult fiction, Orca, 2004)
Truth (Young-adult fiction, Orca, 2003)
Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World (Middle-grade non-fiction, Whitecap, 2001)

Speaking InformationI give presentations to intermediate and high school students as well as to adults. I've spoken at the Vancouver Writers Fest, travelled with TD Canadian + read more Children's BookWeek, and visited schools across Metro Vancouver. If the workshop descriptions below don't suit your needs, please feel free to contact me directly.

Writing to Change the World (ideal for middle-grade students)
I love to write about people who've taken risks and achieved great things. In this fast-paced presentation, we look at why people decide to pursue unusual goals, what characteristics help them succeed, and how their actions change the world. Along the way, there are plenty of questions and answers, a chance to act out one of the stories, a crime tableau in which the audience serves as jury, and plenty of crowd-sourced sound effects. I work hard to ensure different learning styles are represented, and every student is engaged. In the last portion of the presentation, we decide what wisdom we can take from other over-achievers, and I share ways I've used risk-taking and grit in my own writing life. Then we look at ways all students might work toward embracing opportunities and achieving their own dreams.

Science Superheroes (for middle-grade and young-adult students)
This is a tour through decades of DNA discovery. With skits, silly sound effects, and some highly scientific (?) pipe-cleaner props, we examine the lives of history's genetic geniuses. Students explore the basics of DNA and heredity, compare some of their own traits, and learn what happens when genes go rogue. Then, by examining our collection of DNA stories, we look at which scientific breakthroughs were made through actual genius, and which were the result of extreme dedication. It's possible that the heroes of DNA research made their world-changing discoveries with pure old-fashioned obsession.

Survival 101 (for middle-grade or young-adult students)
All great stories - fiction and non-fiction - rely on conflict and problem-solving. And people face problems in predictable ways. They act or they freeze; they seize control or they panic; they put their own skills and knowledge to work or they look to others for salvation. In this hands-on writing workshop, participants are assigned a crisis situation and asked to set the scene. They might find their character stranded on a desert island, at sea in a lifeboat, or lost in the wilderness. After some time to write, students draw cards from my When The Worst Happens deck of trouble, and things grow more dangerous. How will their characters react when attacked by wild animals, when delirious from dehydration, or when all hope of rescue seems lost? Have the students created people who will pull through in the end, or destined their characters for tragedy? Between writing exercises, we'll discuss what personality traits might help or hinder people in threatening situations. Students leave the workshop with a new understanding of how conflict raises the stakes in storytelling, and how characters develop through the choices they make.

Storytelling Outside the Box (for teens and adults)
Stories have certain things in common: great hooks; interesting characters, and tricky problems. Fiction writers invent their story elements, but non-fiction writers have to find them in real-life events. Fortunately, once you know how to spot the ingredients, you'll see storytelling everywhere - in family histories, media events, court cases, advertising strategies, and political campaigns. That means the ability to spin a good tale is not just a talent for writers. It's essential for anyone who wants to see the world in new ways and influence others to do the same. This is the grown-up version of “Writing to Change the World,” above. Show Less

    I Will Travel To:
  • Vancouver
  • Coast
  • Lower Mainland
  • Gulf and Vancouver Islands
  • Thompson Okanagan
  • Kootenay Rockies

    I Present to Age Groups:
  • Grades 4-6
  • Grades 7-8
  • High School
  • College / University / Adult

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TestimonialsIt was an absolute pleasure to work with Tanya. Together, we organized a speaker tour across ten of + read more our regional libraries. We received comments of overwhelming delight and praise for her presentations. I had the pleasure of listening to her talk twice – and enjoyed it enormously both times! Tanya is an engaging storyteller who captivates her audiences (whether they are children or adults). The children were engrossed in her stories, delighted by her jokes, and eager to participate in her highly interactive presentations. After the presentation, many of the children wanted the opportunity to speak with her. Tanya is an excellent speaker. I cannot use enough superlatives to describe how much we enjoyed working with her. —Rachel Burke, Fraser Valley Regional Library Show Less

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