Introducing my next wave of authors who are joining the W.A.R series.
Jan Godown Annino writes fiction and non-fiction in Florida, where she moved as a child, from rural New Jersey. You can visit her blog, or contact her on Facebook: She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader (National Geographic Children’s Books (March 9, 2010)
How did you find your topic for this, your first picture book?
Betty Mae Jumper, who is an amazing woman, spoke to me when I stopped at her table at a festival I was covering for a newspaper. We stayed in touch. Years later after she wrote two books herself, including A Seminole Legend, her memoir, she said she would like me to present her story to young readers.
You aren’t American Indian, so as an outsider, what qualities do you bring to this topic?
I knew Mrs. Jumper for a long time before I thought I would be writing books. She was a newspaper editor when we met, so we were colleagues in journalism. I made sure that my young daughter who is now an older teen, met her. Another time, we enjoyed a fun car ride together with other women, in travel to a storytelling event in another city. The biggest factor was that she trusted me to write it. Instructive for other writers is that this collaborative process with the artist Lisa Desimini, and also with Moses Jumper, Jr. who wrote a letter to children for the book, involved vetting the images and story with the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum at the Big Cypress community, affiliated with the Smithsonian.
Why is it important for young readers to know about Betty Mae Jumper?
Anytime young people can see how a child goes from infancy, when her story begins, to great achievement, that’s exciting. Her world in the 1920s in outdoors Florida was so different than what children experience today. And she is an exemplar because she never gave up on her dreams of a good education and improvements for the people she loves – the unconquered Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Her blog/website: www.bookseedstudio.wordpress.com
On facebook: She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader