Have you ever read a children’s book called Ann Likes Red? If so, you’ll be interested in a new development relating to this title.
Back in the 1960s, when I began writing books, Pitman Publishing Company produced a series of ten little books I wrote for beginning readers. Those of us who taught reading
with the instructional system Pitman promoted used them in our classrooms to help children become independent readers as early as age four or five. I sold the rights to these stories to Pitman for, well, a pittance.
These books attracted the attention of Grosset and Dunlap, a well-known publisher of children’s books, who purchased the rights from Pitman and produced them in more standardized format, selling them by the thousand in supermarkets, department stores, and wherever else parents looked for good little stories they could read to their children and the children could learn to read themselves. I never earned anything on these thousands of
I’ve published other children’s stories, but these little books remain my favorites. Yet I had almost forgotten about them when I received a letter in the year 2000 — thirty-five years after publication — from a woman wanting a copy of one of the books, called Ann Likes Red. It seems that when she was little, her mother read the book to her, and she soon learned to read it herself. She loved that little story, and it became her favorite book. Now she wanted to read it to her own little daughter, but she discovered it was out of print. Could I help her?
Moreover, she revealed that in wanting a copy of Ann Likes Red, she was far from being alone. She told me that eleven other women had written to Amazon.com saying they yearned for a copy of this book to read to their own little children! I was astounded, especially when I checked Amazon and found that she wasn’t exaggerating.
Since then, Purple House Press has republished Ann Likes Red, to the delight of many of Ann’s fans, who can now order copies from Purple House Press or from me. I’ve received many letters of gratitude for the re-appearance of Ann Likes Red.
In 2002, another of these little books, Ballerina Bess, was republished. Now those who grew up with this book can hold it in their hands again and share it with their own little children. Ballerina Bess has been nearly as popular as Ann Likes Red. Its many fans can order it from Trafford Publishing or from me.
In 2003, two more titles from this series were back in print: The Tent and Big Beds and Little Beds.
Both these books include boys as well as girls as characters, so they’re just as popular with boys as with girls. These books are now out of print, as are other titles in this series like Bill and the Fish, The Pond, and Brad and Nell.
Copies of these old favorites are sometimes available at Albris, Amazon, or eBay, and a few signed copies are available at Loganberry Books in Cleveland.
In 2004, my own favorite was republished: The Sandwich. Boys especially like the humor of this one. You can get a copy from Trafford Publishing or from me.
In 2015, I was delighted to hear from a Florida mother who will be passing along Ann Likes Red to the next generation of readers:
“One of my favorite books as a little girl (I’m now 37) was Ann Likes Red. As I grew older, I always thought about that book but never knew what happened to the copy I had, which likely belonged to my aunt when she was growing up in the 60s. I now have a three month old daughter of my own and decided I needed to get her a copy of Ann Likes Red — well it would be for me, too! I just received it in the mail today and I just had the chance to sit down and read it. From the first page, so many childhood memories came flooding back of how much I loved the book and spent hours reading it over and over again, and looking at the pictures. When it came to the red shoes, I remember as a little girl how badly I wanted those same red shoes! I read your note in the back of the book saying that generations of people told you how much it affected them and they are passing it down to their children. I felt compelled to let you know the same thing has happened to me and I can’t wait to share this book with her! Thank you for writing such a simple, yet special book!”
In 2018, I heard from another mother who loved Ballerina Bess:
“I wanted to let you know that as a child I adored Ballerina Bess. It was the first book I read on my own and I’ve treasured it all these years. Now with a little girl of my own it was the first book I read to her and I hope it will be the first book she reads to herself.
With many thanks,
Kathleen & baby Kate”