Hello. I’m JG Annino & I’ve worked as a editor- journalist, tutor & travel guide writer. (odd jobs mentioned below!)
The award-winning, multicultural title, She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper is my debut children’s book, with outstanding artwork from Lisa Desimini and a heart-felt 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…
Please reach me through your comment on my most-recent blog at this site, with enough info so I can get back to you. Schools also find me on twitter @JGA (BkSeedStudio) and on instagram at jganninoauthor.
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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 washed dishes in a residential sailing camp, sang songs to babies at a nursery school and worked one summer as a clerk in a state employment office.
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 her red rat snake for studies in Boston) is a young attorney who brought to our family a wonderful scientist-son-by-marriage.
Here are some facts about my writing:
*She Sang Promise won the Florida Book Awards. It is beautifully illustrated by artist Lisa Desimini, with a heart-felt letter to readers by Moses Jumper, Jr. a poet. This picture book is an ALA/Amelia Bloomer List Top 10 winner & Library of Congress One of 52 Great Reads for Kids and a National Council on the Social Studies pick, among other national honors.
* My poetry was recognized in 2020 by the Florida State Poetry Association annual contest. Today’s Little Ditty, edited by Michelle Barnes, has published my poetry, along with The Journal of Florida Literature & also by Milkweed Editions’ in its Stories From Where We Live series (South Atlantic Coast edition.) I share some poems at this sites’ blog (Home tab) as a contributing member of Kidlitosphere’s Poetry Friday meet-up but often highlight poems by others.
* The Florida Humanities Council awarded my work an independent scholar grant in non-fiction research/writing, which led to my writing a one-act play about a tough young woman from Iowa who moved to our town in the 1950s and fell in love with a rural tree, buying land to preserve it and live beside it, at her hand-built cottage, Lichgate. For other projects, the wonderful Atlantic Center for the Arts provided me with an associate artist-residency, in nonfiction with Michael Dirda.
* 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.
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. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………