First Day Jitters Series by Julie Danneberg
Review by: Anna Colley
Recommended for: Kindergarten - 6th Grade
This trio of books follows a first-year teacher from the first day of school to the triumphant final day. In book one [spoiler alert!], students will be surprised at the end to discover that the person who is too nervous to go to a new school on the first day is actually a new teacher, Sarah Hartwell. I always read this book to my classes on the first day, and used it as a starting point for our first writing assignment where each student wrote about his or her own first-day jitters. The second book, First Year Letters, showcases a letter-writing project Miss Hartwell begins with her students. The letters chronicle the many mishaps and adventures of Sarah's first year of teaching. Teachers will smile at Sarah's enthusiasm and missteps, and perhaps get a bit teary-eyed at the progress of one particular student. This book is a good jumping-off point for a discussion about inference, as the reader must put two and two together to determine what has happened in several of the letters. Finally, Last Day Blues is the touching story of Miss Hartwell's students' quest to brighten their teacher's spirit on the last day of school. Teachers will relate to the teachers' conga line as the buses pull away from the building. This is a fun read for the last week of school as a celebration of how far Miss Hartwell's class, and yours, have come.