Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 02/17/2010

Jan Godown Annino

Jan Godown Annino, Class of 1970

An honoree in journalism at the summer conference in 1970, Jan Godown Annino is recently published by National Geographic Society, after her career as a newspaper feature writer for Gannett and Knight-Ridder newspapers.  Her special research interests include women’s studies, minorities, and literacy.

She is married to a public interest attorney who leads a law clinic and their daughter is the best teen in the universe.

Family trips anchored the research for her geotourism guides such as Family Fun in Florida and Scenic Driving Florida (3rd edition, January 2010 The Globe Pequot Press).

For NGS Jan wrote She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader. Of that experience, Jan advises: “Keep track of others’ accomplishments that strike you as significant when you are young, as you may become the person who later presents their story to young readers, and not necessarily, as I have, in a book. My mother clipped a newspaper article for me about the historic 1967 election in the Seminole Tribe of Florida and I feel that brought me, more than 40 years later, to introduce elementary age children to an amazing woman, Betty Mae Tiger Jumper.”   She Sang Promise also features the work of award-winning artist Lisa Desimini, with an afterword letter from Moses Jumper, Jr.  Release month is March 2010.

As for Academy experience, it brought Jan her first airplane trip alone, her first visit to Texas and her first meeting with celebrities: H. Ross Perot and Shirley Temple Black.  “I found my politics differed from theirs, but they were each fascinating to observe up close. Mr. Perot’s intensity bristled from him like sparks as he walked through the packed aisles of students, stopping to shake hands and answer a question. Making the same journey, Mrs. Black exuded a calm presence that for me, as one who grew up watching her frenetic tap-dancing in old movie musicals, made me relieved that she moved in a much different world than had been proscribed for her as a child.”

Among her assignments for daily newspaper features, Jan has ridden a horse to find buffalo grazing on a Florida prairie and helped count bald eagle nests from a helicopter. Walking is part of her creative process and her longest walks have been up and down Mt. LeConte in Tennessee and Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  Jan is completing work toward a masters degree in children’s literature and she is revising a historical fiction novel for young readers, set in the 1960s.

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