Monday, August 27, 2012

Michigander Monday: Ann Ingalls

I'm pleased to welcome Ann Ingalls to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Ann, please tell us a little about yourself.

Ann:  My ninth grade English teacher said I had absolutely no talent for writing. I'd like to catch up with her today and let her know I'll have 16 books in print next spring and over 200 poems, short stories and meditations. So there, Sr. Elaine.

It wasn't until I got to Michigan State that my confidence was restored in my ability to write. I'd like to thank whoever that professor was who said I could. If only I could remember his name....

I can hang a spoon on the end of my nose and can make a decent brownie, if I say so myself.

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your books.

Ann:  My first book is Little Piano Girl, the childhood story of Mary Lou Williams, the First Lady of Jazz.  Houghton Mifflin published that in 2010. This past May, Pilgrim Press released Worm Watching and Other Wonderful Ways to Teach Young Children To Pray.  Next summer, Grosset and Dunlap will release Ice Cream Soup, a picture book about a crazy mess in the kitchen.

I have a wonderful agent, Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary. Having her represent my work has been a delight. She's kind and caring and has such good professional sense. Can you tell I'm a fan?

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Ann:  Right now, I am writing 13 read aloud stories for Core Knowledge. Just finished two--one on Jackie Robinson and another on Ruby Bridges. As a former elementary and special education teacher, I think of myself as a "life-long learner." I love the research it takes to put a piece together. (I taught in Lansing, Michigan).

I have eight books on manners, thank you very much, coming out this month. Child's World is the publisher for those. I had two books on Language Arts instruction come out in January (Seth and Savannah Build a Speech and Isabella and Ivan Build An Interview -- Norwood House), and have two coming out on World Traditions (Child's World). I have done a bit of writing for Capstone--Books for English Language learners.

My agent is sending around a couple of books--one on the Underground Railroad and another on Will Rogers. Cross you fingers, please.

I write lots and lots of poems. Mostly sell them to Highlights but also to other publishers. I'm always surprised and delighted when I get that contract in the mail.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Ann:  This fall I'll be speaking at the MOSCBWI's fall conference in Lindenwood, MO--near St. Louis. I'll be sharing what I know about writing nonfiction. I'll also be critiquing picture books at KSSCBWI's fall conference in October. Am looking forward to spending time with many new and established writers.

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Ann:  My favorite library is the Dearborn Library on Michigan Avenue. My dad took me there numerous times as a child. I so loved the doll house in the Children's section. Can someone tell me if it's still there?

Bookstore? I've never met a bookstore I didn't like.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Ann:  I am wild about Traverse City--lots of trips there as a child. My grandparents are buried there.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Ann:  Family reunions. We have had them in South Haven (great!), Plymouth (great!), at Greenfield Village (great!), in Canton (great!). I have seven siblings, six living, and about a hundred other assorted relatives. We put the "fun" in dysfunctional.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Ann:  Everyone has a good story to tell.  I don't think I have a favorite.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Ann:  Michigan has the world's best blueberries, cherries, peaches, apples, did I say blueberries?

And...you can't beat the lakes but I'm pretty sure everyone knows about them.

Debbie:  Last question.  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: what’s the better term, "Michigander" or "Michiganian"?

Ann:  I have always considered myself to be a Michigander. Rather like the sound of that. Like to think tourists might like to "take a gander" at all Michigan has to offer. Am still doing that myself.

Debbie:  Another mark in the 'gander column!  Thanks, Ann, for joining us today for Michigander Monday!

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