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To: My Fans!
From: Ann
Back to School

September 2000

Hi, readers, and welcome back to school! I may not have admitted it when I was a kid, but I always looked forward to the beginning of a new school year. While my friends were groaning about having to wake up early and all the homework we would be getting, I was busy organizing my school supplies and wondering about my new teachers. I was a little nervous, too, but this had more to do with the social aspect of school than with the assignments. Homework and the tests didn't scare me (much), but I was very shy with new people or performing in front of a large group. Just take my word for it — oral reports and gym classes were torture for me!

I think the main reason I liked school was because I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I loved reading, writing, and being with kids, and wanted to pass on this love of reading and writing. (Believe it or not, it never occurred to me to be an author. At that time, I didn't know anyone who planned on a writing career. Writing was just something some of us enjoyed doing.) After I graduated from high school, I decided to study education at Smith College in order to become an elementary school teacher.

I didn't know it at the time, but studying to become a teacher actually helped prepare me to become a writer. For an entire year, I got to be a student teacher in a preschool class and a kindergarten class. I read tons good. And for my thesis (this is a very long research paper students have to write during their last year of college), I wrote about ways that teachers could use children's literature in their classroom. After reading so many books by dozens of authors, I got a good idea about the types of characters that appealed to me, and the kinds of stories that I thought kids might like to read about. This helped give me confidence to begin writing my first book, Bummer Summer.

As a child, I used to picture myself all grown up, in the middle of a classroom doing totally awesome activities with my students. But guess what? Writing books for children makes me feel like a different kind of teacher. True, I'm not in front of a class every day. But I'm lucky enough to be able to share my stories with all the dedicated BSC readers — and this makes for a much bigger class than I ever could have dreamed of!

Wishing you a wonderful school year,