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Anna Jane Hays

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Anna Jane Hays and Cookie Monster

Anna Jane Hays at a staff event in the early 1990s.

Anna Jane Hays is an author and editor who worked for the Children's Television Workshop for 29 years, notably serving as Vice President/Editor-in-Chief of Book Publishing. During this time, she wrote such Sesame Street books as Cookie See! Cookie Do!, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Smell No Evil and edited I'll Miss You, Mr. Hooper. In 2003, she wrote the book So Big!

Hays' early writing career included ghost writing projects in California and subsequently worked for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., penning feature articles and interviews about volunteers' experiences. Peace Corps director of public information, journalist Robert A. Hatch, was one of several people Joan Ganz Cooney invited to her apartment in 1966 to discuss creating a children's television series. Hatch asked Hays to join the organization, once the show aired, but Hays was pregnant. She waited until her child was 6 months old before signing on in 1970, becoming the first editor of Sesame Street Magazine.

Once the magazine was running smoothly, Hays became involved in the children's book aspect. Once publishers were interested, she and other people from the division would receive advance scripts from Jon Stone, and occasionally watch the taping. The team would then come up with concepts consistent with the characters and curriculum. Many of the initial books were written in house, due to a limited budget. During this period, Hays also attended international workshops and met with foreign publishers.

She spent 29 years with the company, before moving back to New Mexico, becoming the editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper. She has also written children's books of her own.

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