Avis was born in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. She graduated with an MA from the University of British Columbia where she taught poetry in the Language and Literacy Education Department. An elementary school teacher for many years, with teaching experience in Canada and England, Avis has also been a writer-in-residence, mentor, and workshop leader. She has given poetry presentations in Canada, U.S., Hong Kong, and Japan.
Now retired from teaching, Avis devotes her time to writing poetry. Three of her books she has illustrated: Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry; Leap into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry; and The Monarch's Progress: Poems with Wings.
Sea Stars: Saltwater Poems, is illustrated with photographs by Margaret Butschler. African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways, is illustrated with photographs by Deborah Noyes.
Many of her poems are published in anthologies and magazines, and are largely focused on the natural world. When not writing and illustrating, Avis enjoys hiking, gardening, reading, and music. She lives with her husband in Vancouver, British Columbia. They have one son.