Ann Morris's many books include Families, Bread Bread Bread, Hats Hats Hats, On the Go, and Loving. She lives in New York City.
As a children's book writer, Ann Morris has been able to successfully integrate her varied experiences in teaching young children, travel, writing, and editing. Having grown up in the polyglot public schools of New York City, where each child's ethnic heritage was revealed by his name or by the contents of the lunch box from home filled with sausages, egg rolls, matzos, or pizza, she developed a strong Interest In cultures other than her own. " I'm a gypsy by nature," she says. "I always have my suitcase packed."
She and photographer Ken Heyman once traveled across the United States to document the lives often different families. Both she and the teacher's pupils liked the snake charmer/teacher who taught class in a circus trailer with her favorite boa around her neck. Although Ms. Morris has never tried this stunt he herself, she has taught children in public and private schools in New York City, and adults at Bank Street College, Columbia Teachers College, New York University, and Queens College of the City University of New York. More recently she has been teaching writing for children at The New School.
Ann Morris left teaching to become editorial director of Scholastic's early childhood department. Now she devotes her professional time to writing and all her other time to 11 people watching, music in any and all Forms, cat care, cooking and eating, and travel." All of these experiences, she says, provide material for her books.
In Israel Ms. Morris was caught up in the enchantment of the place as well as the conflicts that are a consequence of its history. One of her books, When Will They Stop Fighting? (Atheneum), reflects her concern about children who have become the victims of these conflicts.
Ann Morris worked with photographer Ken Heyman while producing an award-winning series of sound-filmstrips for young children. Since then the author-photographer team has created several books in a multicultural series for Lothrop, including Hats, Hats, Hats; Shoes, Shoes, Shoes; and Bread, Bread, Bread. Her interest in travel and the arts brought her to the famous Vaganova, Academy, where children of the famous Kirov ballet company are instructed. This resulted in On Their Toes (Atheneum), followed by Dancing to America (Dutton), photographed by Paul Kolnik. The latter book is about one of the Russian children and his family who emigrated to New York, where he now participates in our own School of American Ballet. Her book Karate Boy (Dutton) features her nephew and his friends in karate class. She thinks of this as a "family book" in that it was photographed by her cousin, David Katzenstein. Light the Candle Bang the Drum (Dutton), with illustrations by Peter Linenthal, is about holidays around the world.