Family Home Phone / 850.942.6143 Leave a message on the Mobile/ 850.510.2586
Pronounce Jan’s name: (God*own Ah*nee*noh) & her nickname is JG
Send a note to her at JGAoffiice (at) gmail (dot) com Twitter: catch the JGA news feed @Bkseedstudio
Paper mail: PO Box 14143 Tallahassee FL 32314
Jan Godown Annino is an award-winning author in North Florida whose work has been praised by School Library Journal & the American Library Association. (find additional endorsements at the glow page…)
This author is best-known for her illustrated biography of a strong woman leader, Betty Mae Tiger Jumper. The book title is SHE SANG PROMISE.
Jan’s previous books include a family guide to Florida travel & also a book for families about famous Florida animals.
Bring Jan to your school or museum site for an engaging presentation about research & writing.
She is especially honored to make presentations about Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, who wrestled alligators & did much, much more in history. Jan knew Mrs. Jumper for 20 years before she wrote a book about her.
More on the author
Jan Godown Annino’s first home was next to an aromatic dairy farm and a mysterious woods. She has said, “Both my parents told original family stories of New Jersey, based on events that included a duel, a canary named Caruso & a trick to have my grandfather visit the ocean for the first time! My love of stories came from their gift of storytelling.” Jan’s mother wrote agricultural news for the weekly newspaper so, “I played in the newsroom; the editor let me doodle on wonderful long reams of newsprint that smelled fresh like clean bed sheets.”
Jan’s father, a New Jersey vehicle inspection ombudsman, retired to Sarasota, Florida in time for Jan to try, and fail, during middle school, to learn how to surf like a cool island girl. She lived a dream teen life on Siesta Key, Florida anyway, and later near Philippi Creek, Sarasota. Furthering her love of her new state, teacher Ed Taylor’s marine ecology class aquarium in high school held sea horses! And her classmate’s mother was the famous shark expert, Dr. Eugenie Clark. This was an exotic world so different from cows.
Jan asks, “Here’s a question. What job can have you talking to a real murderer on Death Row. And also, standing side by side with a U.S. President?” Jan trained for this at the University of Florida, where she studied journalism with Pultizer-winner H.G. “Buddy” Davis and history with Professor Michael Gannon, Florida’s esteemed and legendary historian-author. She interviewed many infamous and famous people and just plain folks, as a Florida news writer.
Seminole Tribe of Florida leader Betty Mae Jumper is the subject of Jan’ biography that won the 2011 Florida Book Awards gold medal in children’s literature. As a little child Betty Mae’s life was threatened, then she began kindergarten at middle school age, and later was the only woman wrestling alligators to entertain tourists. She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader is illustrated by Lisa Desimini, with an afterward letter to children from Moses Jumper, Jr. Jan is available (JGAoffice (at) gmail.com) for school visits to share research and writing tips, or to talk about Mrs. Jumper, who advised a U.S. President.
Books by Jan Godown Annino:
(2010) She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader (National Geographic)
(2010) Scenic Driving Florida, now in its 3rd edition (Globe Pequot Press)
(2008) Florida’s Famous Animals (Globe Pequot Press)
Family Fun in Florida (out of print)
Jan has also contributed to these non-fiction books:
The Florida Handbook (Peninsular Publishing)
Florida On My Mind (Globe Pequot Press, 1998)
The Book of the Everglades (Milkweed Editions, 2002)
The South Atlantic Coast & Piedmont: A Literary Field Guide (Milkweed Editions, 2006)
Jan has also contributed to The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Journal of Florida Literature and
Quoted, about Jan’s books…
“…her writing is superb. There is a poetry to her words…” SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
SHE SANG PROMISE: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader is illustrated by noted artist, Lisa Desimini, with an afterword letter to young readers from Moses Jumper, Jr., who is a poet and author in Florida,
The publisher is National Geographic Children’s Books.
An evaluation of Jan’s events:
“In her presentation to our fourth and fifth graders at Sealey Elementary, Ms. Jan brings to life the important history story of the first woman elected leader of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Betty Mae Tiger Jumper. The children are fascinated to see the artifacts Jan shares as well as the fact that we are in Tallahassee with a school that as the Seminole name (FSU) . They are delighted to learn more about Florida and the rich culture of our Native American tribes. The children also learn from her enthusiastic encouragement, about non-fiction research and writing as she shares how she wrote the book. I wish she had the opportunity to present her book, “She Sang Promise,” from the National Geographic Society, more often. She is truly an asset to our educational program at Sealey and will continue to be invited to share her knowledge with our students.
Library Media Specialist
Honors for SHE SANG PROMISE include:
Amelia Bloomer Project Top Ten Book/ALA
Florida Book Awards, gold medal, children’s literature
National Council on the Social Studies list of top books for young readers
Because Jan has written Florida heritage travel guides & worked as a community newspaper reporter for most of her career she is an ideal presenter to students on real-life research & writing tips.
Presentations Jan makes include -
BETTY MAE JUMPER in a JIFFY
Jan brings a Seminole patchwork cloth bag of artifacts to help illustrate Mrs. Jumper’s amazing world. As children pull items out of the bag, they discover Florida history. Teachers can receive a list of resources, including recommended reading that is tilted toward materials created by members of various Tribes in the U.S. & Canada. This presentation can also include colorful slides, if your site provides the projection technology for Jan’s usb stick.
Arrange in advance with Jan what craft project you’d like to connect to the presentation. This can include making bookmarks that celebrate Seminole Tribe of Florida patchwork &/or starting on individual model chickees, or one larger model chickee for the group. Especially fun with 3-5th grade.
Young Authors in Action
Researching & writing tips for young authors, with an emphasis on how to pluck ideas out of experiences.
Slides show real interviews & research, to help young writers understand that in their daily world they experience material or information that could go into their story. Because of tangible objects Jan brings, this presesntation also works without the slide show.
Arrange in advance with Jan for the on-site research & writing activities.
Jan is pleased to attend book fairs, author days, & to participate in literacy celebrations.
For teachers, parents & other adults
Picturing a Life
Tips on selecting your topic, then researching & writing a biography for young readers. Trends to know in this important genre that finds a built-in audience. Research, writing exercises & a resource handout. Ideal for established writing groups, writing conferences & educators.
FOR the youngest folks, Jan visits with Book Bear, her shy puppet, through organized reading programs, such as BookPALS.