About Amy S. Hansen
I live with my husband, two sons, two cats and a dog in Maryland. My favorite part of my job is finding out the answers to mysteries. Where do the bugs go in the winter? How does a refrigerator work? How can a merry-go-round can be used as a water-pump?
I love the research part of my job. I call and e-mail people. I read a lot. Sometimes I go to museums, go through laboratories, or I travel to new places. And I’ve been known to take apart an old phone and a VCR to see how the parts feel before writing about them.
Why do all that? Because good non-fiction has its own story and pace. It’s not just a collection of numbers or facts. Good non-fiction paints a picture, gives cool information, and invites readers to be detectives in their own world.
Trivia about me
I grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. I went to Wauwatosa East High School. (pronounced Wow-wa-Tosa) and lived on Wauwatosa Avenue. (I got very good at writing Wauwatosa!)
I lived in Belgium for a year after high school as an exchange student. I learned to speak Flemish.
I went to Oberlin College and University of Michigan.
At college I finished majors in both English and economics because I couldn’t make up my mind. At graduate school, I finished a masters in both journalism and the science of natural resources, because again, I couldn’t make up my mind.
Right out of college I worked for a small weekly paper in Amherst, Ohio. I was the only reporter, only photographer, in charge of laying out the paper, and helped with delivery. I’ve been writing ever since.
While writing very short prose or poetry, I cook. I write and then chop vegetables. Then I write it again. Then I chop some more. Eventually the vegetables go into a soup and the words go into a book.
Some of my favorite nonfiction writers for kids are Kathleen Krull, Steve Sheinkin, and Marfe Delano. (My adult list includes Mary Roach and John McPhee)
Some of my favorite fiction writers for kids are Daniel Pinkwater, Deborah Wiles and Jane Yolen.
One of my favorite foods is spinach. I am always surprised when no one at the dinner table fights me for the last helping of this wonderful vegetable.
I’m rather fond of cheese too. Though I don’t think anyone is surprised by that since I grew up a “cheese-head” from Wisconsin.
Education and Awards
MS and MA, University of Michigan, 1991 (School of Natural Resources and Journalism).
BA. Oberlin College, 1987 (Majors in English and Economics).
Prince George’s County Arts Council Work-in-Progress Grant Star Scouts, a graphic novel, 2011
John Burroughs Young Readers List of Outstanding Nature Writing. Bugs and Bugsicles 2011
Skipping Stones Honor Award for Outstanding Books. Bugs and Bugsicles 2011
SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grant Letter of Merit. Science Sleuths. 2008.
Blue Pencil Award: Frontiers, Nov. 1997.
Omni Cool Science Winner. Frontiers Online, April 1997.
Apex Award: Excellence in Feature Writing, Frontiers, Amy Hansen, 1997.
Parents Choice Award: Earth Explorer, Spring 1996.
Invited Speaker/Panelist: Maryland Association of Library Specialists (Fall, 2011), Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge Winter Birthday Bash (2010), American Library Association National Meeting (Summer 2009), National Association of Science Writers (Spring 2010)
Children’s Book Guild, SCBWI, and National Association of Science Writers.