When I joined my current critique group, Alison Hertz was the first person I met. I immediately LOVED her. How could you not love a former clown? Since then, Alison and I have become fast friends and travel companions. We always share a room at writing conferences which is an extra bonus for a shy person like me because Alison knows everybody. She is a talented writer and illustrator and I am thrilled that she’s going to be judging manuscripts for The Bertie.
Alison has always followed the tune of a different drummer. At age 10, she began performing as a juggler and when she was just 14 years old, Alison joined a circus. Really. So when her friends were going to football games and prom, Alison was riding a unicycle and walking a high wire. When it was time for her to attend college, Alison’s circus days abruptly ended and she headed to New York City to become a Toy Designer. After designing hundreds of toys that were sold in major retail stores including Toys R Us and WalMart, Alison returned to college to earn a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction so she could use her talents for entertaining children to get them excited about reading, writing and art. Alison also used these skills to write and illustrate her debut picture book, FLAP, which released in 2012. This teaching, toy designing, circus performing writer/artist mom is currently writing and illustrating picture books, chapter books, and mid-grade novels about her wildly exciting experiences. Alison has also illustrated hidden picture puzzles for Highlights. When Alison isn’t writing, drawing, painting, reading, creating puzzles, or volunteering at her children’s school she can be found doodling and is host of Doodle Day, an online daily drawing challenge with more than 500 participants around the world.