PLOVDIV,  a beautiful city of Bulgaria, foto by our family member, Sevdalina. So lucky to have traveled with family in lovely, unique, Bulgaria. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Welcome to the website of JG Annino. You may be visiting for details on the book, She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper.  It’s  a much-awarded project, with  outstanding artwork from Lisa Desimini and a heart-felt letter to readers from Moses Jumper, Jr.  It was created in consultation with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.


An Artist’s Way practitioner, JG Annino’s sparks boost creativity for many from Elder memoirists, to grade school Poets-in-the-Making. Her days scrubbing dishes at a residential sailing academy, or serving as newspaper editorial page editor, bracket a mix of memorable jobs. Experiences on the edge include surviving a fall from a boulder & losing consciousness while hiking lovely Mt. Katahdin, and quite separately & with a host of help, thriving with kidney cancer.

The Library of Congress selected her lyrical picture book, She Sang Promise, for the National Book Festival.

With her husband JGA is a frequent walker and on their small spot of sweet earth, they grow abundant rosemary & struggling lavender, along with well-established lemon, fig, & avocado fruits, all organically.

She appreciates her Atlantic Center for the Arts residency, Florida Humanities Council independent scholar grant & Florida Book Awards Gold Medal. JGA’s script celebrating a tree-saving scholar was performed outdoors at Florida’s Lichgate Cottage. She is also a doodler, photographer & poem maker.

Gratitude flows to Anhinga Press, Birmingham Arts Journal, Globe Pequot, National Geographic, many newspapers and magazines, Milkweed Editions, MoSt Poetry Center, Scholastic, Tiny Seed Journal & especially, Today’s Little Ditty,  for publishing her works.


SSP  was created in consultation 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.

Other notations  include a recommendation by the Americans Indians In Childrens Literature online resource of Dr. Debbie Reese, and also from the American Library Association.

If we aren’t already in touch, I prefer you reach me through your comment on my most-recent blog post and leave your email in that comment. Also find me on instagram at jganninoauthor.  JGAoffice @ gmail dot com [not a direct link.]  Appreciations.

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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.


Jan Godown Annino’s child wanderings covered New Jersey wildflower fields and Florida shelly island beaches. 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.) With her family she ejjoys growing fruiting pollinator tress from seed in her North Florida backyard. Her favorite hobby is to walk into town, walk into deep woods, or walk long by a salty undeveloped shore.


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. She was a creator of her tribe’s original arts & culture festivals. I met her when she traveled to Tallahassee for a festival at our outdoors natural history museum,  when she sold her own textile art & that of others, which I couldn’t resist buying.

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 & Book of the Everglades, where Betty Mae Tiger Jumper was contributor, also. 


 My husband & I live in suburban hot North Florida (scratchy palmetlos, red clay hills, tall longleaf pines, wide live oak trees & no pythons.) In summer, we submerge ourselves in water. In the winter we like day hikes in a national alligator/bird refuge and an historic farm. We pamper our lemon, fig & avocado trees. We look for skinks [blue-tailed or large-head] green chameleons, tree frogs, pileated wood pecker & listen to the mockingbirds & Carolina wrens. We wave away foraging owls from squirrel nests, in a jungle of flowering vines & more flora, especially the towering grandmother live oak we live under that features long swaths of resurrection fern.  I also like to sing, visit art, doodle, & I especially love to 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.


*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 American Library Association top 10 for feminist studies & represented Florida at the national Library of Congress Book festival.

* My poetry was recognized by the Florida State Poetry Association 2020 contest. More about my emerging poetry is at this site’s poetry page. 

* 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.  The wonderful Atlantic Center for the Arts provided me with an associate artist-residency in nonfiction, with Michael Dirda.

More author facts students may want for reports:

* 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  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.




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.