Resident author and illustrator creates stories with ‘humor and heart’

by Dan Holland

For Bath resident Allison Rozo, a budding career as a children’s picture book writer and illustrator is all about the kids. The mother of two has two children’s picture books scheduled for publication in the next two years, which she wrote with her husband, Rafael. The first, “Unique Like You,” was recently announced for publication in fall 2024 and is about a girl who collects recyclable treasure in Bogota, Colombia and discovers treasures in everyone.

While working as a litigation paralegal for a law firm in Chicago, Rozo – who grew up in Orrville, Ohio – began taking courses in graphic design with the intent of one day writing children’s picture books.

“Writing picture books is my first love now, even though I never thought that the writing side would be the part that I loved the most,” she said. “I still do some illustrating, but right now I’m focusing more on the writing side.”

Tacosaurus is one of several T-shirt designs
that Rozo created.
Photos submitted.

The couple’s first two books are bilingual, featuring a smattering of Spanish blended with English. While in Rafael’s hometown of Bogota, Colombia, the couple saw a city scene of a mother and daughter with a donkey and graffiti sprawled on a wall behind them, which inspired the theme of the couple’s first book: the uniqueness of each individual. The second book tells the tale of a firefighting dragon.

“One of my stories is about a dragon, but it’s really about growing up with asthma as a kid,” Rozo explained. “It’s very light in it, but I pull from all kinds of life experiences. I write different kinds of stories like social/emotional learning and some with humor and a big family dynamic. I usually go for humor and heart.”

Rozo, who volunteers in the libraries at both Bath and Richfield elementary schools, has spoken to students at both schools during Right to Read Week and at Revere High School for career day.

“Illustration-wise, there are a couple of stories I’ve illustrated myself that we’re going to go on submission with to see what happens,” she said. “I shared it with the kids at Richfield Elementary, where I presented ‘Girl in a Great Big World,’ which I sang to them. The second graders all ended up singing it with me, and it was really wonderful. I do have something written and illustrated waiting in the wings as well.”

Rozo, who is a member of the Northern Ohio chapter of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, has also produced commissioned artworks using a variety of mediums.

Rozo also produces artwork on recycled materials such as wood.

“Any time I can use something that is recycled, I do that,” she said. “I do different things with cardboard, and I was commissioned to do a portrait of a brother and sister and their dog, and I found a wonderful piece of old wood and did the whole portrait on that. I love to paint on things that have been reclaimed.”

She also designs and sells T-shirts with her cousin, Jordan Hurt, in a startup company called Rogue Hamster. The business features artsy designs that include plants, humor and positive/uplifting images for adults and kids, Rozo said.

“I would like to keep growing all of these things and keep getting my books out there,” she said. “My biggest reason for doing this is that I love to entertain children; it’s amazing how they respond and to see the little lights go on when I talk about things. I would love to be at more schools and become more involved in that; it’s all for the kids.”

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Featured Photo: Alison Rozo (r) and her husband Rafael sign an agreement with their literary agent in 2021.