Hello. I’m JG Annino & I’ve worked as a editor- journalist, tutor & travel guide writer. I’ve published the award-winning, multicultural title, She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper
with artwork from Lisa Desimini and a letter to readers from Moses Jumper, Jr. This story was created in collaboration with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. It represented Florida at the Library of Congress National Book Festival as a Great Read for Kids & our book has this Kirkus mention that begins – Short poetic stanzas join jewel-toned illustrations to sing the satisfying story… 

Library of Congress, appreciations for the ONE of 52 GREAT READS designation.

Library of Congress, appreciations for the ONE of 52 GREAT READS designation.

Reach me through your comment on my most-recent blog at this site.

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For ideas on classroom connections.
With esteemed children’s poetry/literature expert, my mentor, the late, great Lee Bennett Hopkins, member of the Florida Artists’ Hall of Fame & recipient of uncountable outstanding honors.



summary bio –

Jan Godown Annino’s child wanderings covered New Jersey wildflower fields and Florida shell yards. As a kid she took piano lessons, sang in choirs, was late to learn bike-riding, never advanced beyond Guppy in water skills, but she doodled, published a protest letter to the editor at age eight, put on marionette shows and, edited her high school newspaper.

Jan has tutored college students in writing skills, taught memoir writing to seniors and met daily deadlines at community newspapers.

She is the author of the award-winning SHE SANG PROMISE, The Story of Betty Mae Jumper (National Geographic Society.) She treads water in her backyard pool where she lives with her family in North Florida.

longer form bio from Jan Godown Annino

She Sang Promise is an illustrated book about Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, an outstanding Native American exemplar who I knew for years as a friend, before she authorized my bringing her spectacular story of poverty,  prejudice & accomplishment to young readers.

I’ve written three non-fiction shunpiker guides: Scenic Driving Florida, Florida’s Famous Animals & Family Fun in Florida. I’ve contributed to references such as The Florida Handbook & Florida On My Mind.



 My husband & I live in hot North Florida (scratchy palmettoes, red clay hills, tall pines, wide live oak trees & no pythons.) In summer, we submerge ourselves in water. In the winter we like day hikes in a nearby national alligator/bird refuge. We pamper our lemon trees & feed squirrels at our yellow cottage surrounded by curiosities, books & a jungle of flowering vines, ferns, banana and lemon trees & more flora, also fauna such as green chameleons, blue-striped skink lizards, centipedes, raptors & other birds. I also like to sing, visit art, walk, instead of drive. Our daughter (who left us the snake for studies in Boston) graduated from law school public & studies for the 2-day legal beagle test.

Here are some facts about my writing:

* I won the Florida Book Awards Gold Medal for She Sang Promise.  The book, illustrated by artist Lisa Desimini, with a letter to readers by Moses Jumper, Jr. a poet, is an ALA/Amelia Bloomer List Top 10 winner & Library of Congress One of 52 Great Reads for Kids, among other national honors.

* My poems are published in Today’s Little Ditty, edited by Michelle Barnes, The Journal of Florida Literature & also with Milkweed Editions’ Stories From Where We Live series (South Atlantic Coast edition.) I also publish my poems at this sites’ blog (Home tab) as a contributing member of Kidlitosphere’s Poetry Friday meet-up.

* The Florida Humanities Council awarded my work an independent scholar grant in non-fiction research/writing; the Atlantic Center for the Arts provided me with an associate artist-residency, in nonfiction.

More facts:

* My community news career for Knight-Ridder & Gannett papers brought me an insanely odd set of experiences, such as being locked inside Death Row to interview a condemned man & going up with a helicopter pilot to count bald eagle nests. Despite being shy of heights I’ve shimmied up a sailing mast for reporting work.  I’ve also gone underground into a cave ignoring a touch of claustrophobia. Every so often the easy assignment rolled in – sandcastle contest, kitty interview, meeting my heroes – Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter.

* I worked as a youth employment counselor in a state agency, as a classified adv. clerk, as a nursery school staffer where I sang a lot & as a grammar tutor.

* It’s tough for me not to snap photographs – especially signs, wild creatures & unique places.

* It’s just Jan. My dear Mom picked Jennifer, which I would have loved to this moment,
but my Aunt Lillian convinced Mom that the female version of a john (various low meanings) is a jenny & that a Jennifer would be known as Jenny. Go figure.

We can SKYPE & I can travel for PTO/grant-funded presentations.







c.2016 with instructor in Apalachicola – my plan here is that painting a boat can help me write about a boat


Betty Mae Jumper is an especially good fit for Women’s History Month presentations.  Mrs. Jumper wrestled alligators & did much more to secure her place in history. She survived death threats as a child and began kindergarten at middle-school age. She said her greatest achievement was obtaining an education. She was the first woman elected a leader of her Tribe.  Jan knew Mrs. Jumper for 20 years before she wrote a book about her. Mrs. Jumper is featured the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame, among many other lifetime honors.

Quoted, about SHE SANG PROMISE:

“…her writing is superb. There is a poetry to her words…”  SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

From Lenita Joe, Library Media Specialist:

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 (FSU) that has the Seminole name. 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. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Jan brings a Seminole patchwork cloth bag of artifacts to help illustrate Mrs. Jumper’s amazing world.  As children in class or a library, pull items out of the bag, they discover what life would be like for a child in the 1920s, living primarily outdoors. For an assembly, select book club/library helper/ writing group students are invited to display artifacts by Jan’s side; colorful photographic images in Power Point are accessible to all. With SKYPE, students are invited into my office, which is artifact-laden & where the cat sleeps.

For any event, teachers receive a list of resources, including recommended reading that is tilted toward materials created by members of various Tribes, in the U.S. & Canada.  Related maker opportunities are chickee-making with craft sticks & cardboard (Seminole building technique) or a paper patchwork bookmark.



7 thoughts on “About

    • So thoughtful of you to say this Joan, thank you.
      My mother often said they broke the mold after him, truly The Best.

      I may migrate your comment to beneath the post. okeedoke?
      Not sure it’s found the way to the correct section.


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