Allison, Amy 1956-

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ALLISON, Amy 1956-

PERSONAL: Born February 3, 1956, in Philadelphia, PA; daughter of Steve (a radio talk show host) and Wanda (a dancer and dance teacher; maiden name, Hilliard) Allison; married Dave Edison. Education: University of California—Santa Barbara, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1977; Pacific School of Religion, M.Div., 1986. Hobbies and other interests: Yoga, myth and folklore, art (fine, folk, and popular).

ADDRESSES: Home and office—North Hollywood, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Chelsea House Publishers, 1874 Sproul Rd., Suite 400, Broomall, PA 19008. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Writer. Also works as copy editor, proofreader, and teacher.

MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

WRITINGS:

Machu Picchu, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 1993. Shakespeare's Globe, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 1999.

Life in Ancient China, Lucent Books (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Roger Williams: Founder of Rhode Island, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2000.

Antonio Banderas, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

John Leguizamo, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Edwin Stanton: Secretary of War, Chelsea House Publishers (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Gargoyles on Guard, Richard C. Owen (Katoneh, NY), 2002.

Luis Alvarez and the Bubble Chamber, Mitchell Lane Publishers (Bear, DE), 2002.

Contributor of poetry to periodicals, including Turtle and Cricket.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Honeycomb, a young-adult novel.

SIDELIGHTS: The scope of children's author Amy Allison's nonfiction is not limited to a single topic or academic field. Two of her books are part of the "Latinos in the Limelight" series published by Chelsea House Publishers for the elementary and middle school audience. John Leguizamo and Antonio Banderas offer brief overviews of the lives and achievements of these contemporary celebrities, beginning with a look at the highlights of their years as children and adolescents. Allison also documents their professional careers, including film (and, in the case of Leguizamo, stage) appearances. Each book is illustrated with photographs and includes a bibliography of sources for the reader who seeks more detailed information.

Allison also writes about historical figures. Roger Williams: Founder of Rhode Island is not only a biography, but also an exploration of the times in which Williams came to prominence. Allison discusses the historical framework of early colonial America, the political and other issues that affected the lives of the colonists, and the contemporaries of Williams who had an impact on his life. The book contains illustrations depicting the people, places, and events of which she writes, as well as brief background notes with supplementary information about selected key topics.

Other writings focus on historical places, in one instance a specific architectural site. Shakespeare's Globe is the history of a theater, from its origins in Elizabethan England through its reconstruction in the 1990s. Allison's focus is on the architecture of this historic building and the relationship of the building's structure to the dramas presented within its walls. However, she also provides an array of anecdotal information about the composition of Shakespeare's audience, the technical aspects of staging plays at the Globe, and the historical, cultural, and social events that surrounded the theater in its heyday. According to reviewer Sally Margolis in School Library Journal, one highlight of Shakespeare's Globe is a "handy time line" Allison constructs to position the history of the Globe within the context of other historical events and social trends.

Allison once told CA: "What I relish about writing nonfiction is immersing myself in research. I become a detective, searching out clues to pivotal truths about people and events. I try to write nonfiction that is as spellbinding as fiction in its pacing and arresting detail.

"For me, reading has always felt like riding a magic carpet. Now, as a writer, I myself weave together words that transport others through time and space."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

School Library Journal, February, 2000, Sally Margolis, review of Shakespeare's Globe, p. 128; August, 2001, Edith Ching, review of Roger Williams: Founder of Rhode Island, p. 191; April, 2002, Tim Widham, review of John Leguizamo, p. 162.

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