Annette Griessman (1962–) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1962, in Princeton, NJ; Education: Purdue University, B.S. (electrical engineering), 1984. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, gardening, astronomy, "watching good movies, and spending time with my kids."
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Hough-ton Mifflin, 222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116-3764.
Delco Electronics, Kokomo, IN, test engineer, 1984–88; writer.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Polly Bond Award, 1998, for Jenny's Prayer.
Jenny's Prayer, illustrated by Mary Anne Lard, Morehouse Publishing (Harrisburg, PA), 1998.
Gabriel, God, and the Fuzzy Blanket, illustrated by David L. Erickson, Morehouse Publishing (Harrisburg, PA), 2000.
The Fire, illustrated by Leonid Gore, Putnam (New York, NY), 2005.
Like a Hundred Drums, illustrated by Julie Monks, Hough-ton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006.
Work represented in anthologies, including "Tales from the Wonder Zone" series, edited by Julie Czerneda. Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including Spider.
When Annette Griessman graduated from Purdue University with a degree in electrical engineering, the thought of drawing on her love of reading and estab-
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lishing a career as a children's book author must have seemed like a long shot. However, after five years spent working as an engineer, Griessman left her job to raise her family, and this choice enabled her to find the time to pursue her writing. Praised for their compelling plots and realistic characters, Griessman's books for young readers include the faith-based picture books Jenny's Prayer and Gabriel, God, and the Fuzzy Blanket. The Fire, which she published in 2005, is a story about a strong family that holds together in the face of trying circumstances.
In The Fire, Mama, Pepito, and Maria, the story's narrator, are sitting in the family kitchen one afternoon. Mama is busily making soup, while the two children entertain themselves quietly, when suddenly smoke is seen coming from the hallway. The three run outside in the nick of time, and firemen arrive to try and save their home. As the family watches from a place of safety, flames destroy all the material possessions that used to be part of their lives. Young Maria despairs that everything is gone, while her mother, looking at a photo and at the stuffed teddy bear that she managed to salvage from the burning home, bravely assures her children that everything will be alright; the important thing is that they are safe and together. Griessman's "fine book has a message that could help children experiencing any kind of life-changing disaster," commented Judith Constantinides in School Library Journal. "Along with giving firefighters due homage, this rare look at a house fire from the victim's perspective will draw strong reactions—and plenty of discussion—from children," stated a Kirkus Reviews critic.
Griessman once told SATA: "When I was young, I developed a strange habit—I would read anything. I read books, newspapers, magazines, and when those were in short supply, I turned to receipts, cereal boxes, and soup cans. My collection of books grew to enormous proportions, and I learned to read even faster to get through new ones. My favorite authors couldn't write fast enough to keep me in books. To fill my time I tried a variety of hobbies, but inevitably I found myself bored to tears. It finally occurred to me that maybe I should try writing. By writing, I could not only stay busy, but also tell the kinds of stories I loved to read. It was a wonderful and fateful day. Now I write as obsessively as I read. In another few years, I may even be good at it.
"I am very happy with my success in the children's market so far, as I think children have a great need for good stories. If a child learns to love books when he is young, the habit will stay with him for life, enriching that life with bits of wisdom, humor, joy, and just plain fun."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, October 1, 2005, Julie Cummins, review of The Fire, p. 62.
Christian Parenting Today, November, 2000, Lisa Jackson, review of Gabriel, God, and the Fuzzy Blanket, p. 87.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2005, review of The Fire, p. 1026.
Publishers Weekly, December 14, 1998, review of Jenny's Prayer, p. 71.
School Library Journal, November, 2005, Judith Constantinides, review of The Fire, p. 93.
Annette Griessman Home Page, http://www.annettegriessman.com (April 11, 2006).
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