Official Website of Ann McGovern, Popular Children’s Book Author

Q&A

Q: What’s the best part of being a writer?

A: Meeting children, teachers and librarians when I visit schools!

Two girls show me the book they wrote and illustrated.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

A: From real-life adventures around the world, my feelings, interests, imagination, childhood memories, ideas from my grandchildren and the children I meet in my school visits. Go to Questions & Answers About Books to learn more.

I scuba dive with a big fish

Q: What are your most popular books?

A: I would say my IF YOU… series. They have sold in the millions.  STONE SOUP is the most popular picture book. SHARK LADY and THE SECRET SOLDIER are my most popular biographies. TOO MUCH NOISE was published more than 40 years ago. Young children love it as much as their parents did!

If You Lived in Colonial Times

Q: What do you like to write about the most?

A: Anything I’m interested in — and I’m interested in so many things. I write picture books, stories, and folk tales. I also write biographies, and the IF YOU…series books, books about animals and books about life under the sea, funny books and adventure books.

Q: What is the favorite book you’ve written?

A: I’m excited about every book I’ve ever written. I do have a few favorites, though. THE SECRET SOLDIER: THE STORY OF DEBORAH SAMPSON is a true story about a courageous girl who craved adventure at a time when most girls were settling down to marry and have babies. She disguised herself as a man to join the army.

Deborah becomes a soldier

Another book about a woman of great courage is WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE: THE TRUE SRORY OF HARRIET TUBMAN, about a slave who risked her life many times so that 300 slaves could be free.

SHARK LADY and ADVENTURES OF THE SHARK LADY are two books that tell about the scientific adventures of the famous “Shark Lady” Eugenie Clark. I also like my two picture books that were published so long ago that they are considered classics now: STONE SOUP and TOO MUCH NOISE. I like my book: SQUEALS & SQUIGGLES & GHOSTLY GIGGLES for hours of fun — stories and magic tricks and very funny jokes and poems. THE LADY IN THE BOX is an important book because it addresses a social problem with great sensitivity.

Q: How many books have you written?

A: I’ve written 55 books for children.  I plan to write until I’m 200 years old or even older.

Q: Have you traveled everywhere in the USA?

A: I’ve been to every state except Idaho to present my school visits.  I always give myself extra time to travel around and have time to see more of the area.  When our children were in college, my husband Marty and I made frequent trips to visit them in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and, Connecticut. Now all of them have moved to other places.

Often our FAMILY trips are in the U.S. — Cape May in New Jersey, a house by the sea in Massachusetts, a dude ranch in Oregon, a beach house in Delaware, a cruise to Alaska, a reunion in New York City when we go to Broadway shows and spend hours in museums.

One of our family reunions in upstate New York

Because I live in New York City, there is always something exciting going on — movies being made, parades down Fifth Avenue, street fairs, many art exhibits to choose from, new buildings I want to see, parks for biking and jogging. The list goes on and on.

People dressed up for the Easter Parade in NYC!

Q: What books about your travels would you still like to write?

A: I dove with 50-foot whale sharks in Western Australia. I rode on the back of an elephant to see tigers in the wild in India. I would like to write a book about tigers, especially since they are in danger of becoming extinct. I’m fascinated by the polar bears I saw on my way to the North Pole. I’m worried how climate change will affect them. The walruses were so curious about people. I was in a small rubber boat, called a zodiac. We were 13 passengers going to an island in the Arctic sea, when a walrus came up to see us and put his tusk right through the rubber! I could hear the whoosh as the air seeped out of the boat. The boatman turned on the motor fast and we made it back to the big icebreaker ship just in time. Who would want to take a swim in the frigid Arctic Sea? Not I! I’d like to write about my adventures at the North Pole.

The walrus has sharp tusks

Q: Why do you like to travel?

A: The first line in my book, HALF A KINGDOM is “When you wake up in the morning, you never can tell what might happen to you during the day.” That’s the way I feel about traveling. It’s the surprise of the unexpected that I love about traveling.

Q: Do you take pictures underwater?

A: yes, but I was never a good underwater photographer. My son Jim Scheiner is a professional! His underwater photos are in books and magazines. His pictures have illustrated many of my books.  He is always asked to give lectures and to show his beautiful images. Go to The Underwater World of Ann McGovern to see his award-winning video!

I tried to get a good picture of this fish