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

Education:
MS and MA, University of Michigan, 1991 (School of Natural Resources and Journalism).
BA. Oberlin College, 1987 (Majors in English and Economics).

Awards:
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)

Member:

Children’s Book Guild, SCBWI, and National Association of Science Writers.

© 2020 Amy S. Hansen