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Letters from Ann
To: My Fans!
From: Ann
College Days

July 2012

Hi, readers! Both my mother and my father graduated from college in the late 1940s, at a time when men often went to college, but when women weren't as apt to go. Because my parents valued their college experiences, they wanted my sister Jane and me to have the same opportunity to continue our education.

Like many high school students, some subjects came easily to me, while others (math!) were harder and meant I needed to study a lot more to learn the material. I never felt comfortable skimming over a reading assignment, or leaving a project or paper until the last minute, so I was very disciplined about my homework, a quality that has helped me in a career that's filled with deadlines.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a teacher. My mother was a preschool teacher, and I loved helping her plan her lessons. When it was time to think about college, I looked at schools that had strong education departments. In the end, I narrowed my choice to Smith College and Mt. Holyoke College, both excellent all-women's schools in Massachusetts. My mother was a graduate of Mt. Holyoke, and I think she would have loved for me to go there, too, but I felt that Smith was right for me.

As a freshman, I was assigned to Gardiner House, a dormitory of about sixty freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. On my very first day at school, I met Claudia (yes, BSC fans, I named Claudia Kishi after her!), and we became great friends. I lived in Gardiner House for all four of my years at Smith, and made lots of wonderful friends, many of whom I remain in touch with today.

The study skills I had practiced in high school helped me deal with the more challenging college courses and assignments. Smith is one of a group of five colleges, so there were always a zillion things for students to do. I found, however, that just as I'd been a homebody while growing up in Princeton, I was a homebody at Smith. My favorite times with friends involved ordering pizzas, walking into town to shop, or just hanging out and talking.

Becoming a teacher was still my goal, and I was busy taking classes to fulfill the education major. I particularly enjoyed a children's literature class for which I read many children's books. I've always loved reading, and had read many of these books growing up, and I enjoyed rereading some of my favorites. It was interesting to read the works of so many different authors with such different writing styles. This experience would help me when I eventually became a writer myself.

After four wonderful years at Smith, I graduated and accepted a job in Connecticut co-teaching a mixed 4th-5th grade class at a small private school. I enjoyed the students, and I liked incorporating children's books into my classroom lessons, so much so that when the school year ended, I decided to see if I could find a new job that would allow me to work exclusively on children's books. I was fortunate to be hired as an editorial assistant at a children's division of the large publishing company Simon & Schuster in New York City. Shortly after I began working in publishing, I started writing a book of my own. Three years later, Bummer Summer was released, and I've been writing books for children ever since! I'm grateful for my four years at Smith College, which helped prepare me first for the classroom, and then for the writing life I now have.

Happy reading!

Love,

Ann


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