It’s back to school time for us next week. I think that I have used First Day Jitters every year that I have taught. My students love the universal dread of starting something new and students who have ever been new to a school can relate to that feeling of not wanting to start over, the fear of no one liking them. But what really captures their attention is the unique twist at the end, when scared Sarah Jane Hartwell, turns out to be not just new to school, but actually the teacher. The author, Julie Danneberg, writes this in a really clever way so that the entire time you are reading it, you think Sarah is just a student about to go to a new school, from her reluctance to get out of bed, to Mr. Hartwell driving her to school, it is all believable, but, also, very relatable for students. Judy Love’s illustrations add to the story with bright, vivid details, that never reveal Sarah’s face until the very end. One of the best aspects of this book is that it allows kids to see that everyone is apprehensive about new situations, like the first day of school, including their teachers. I always found it was a wonderful conversation starter in my classroom, especially because I was almost always new to my school and state, so my students loved the idea that I was just like the Sarah in the book (it helps that my name is Sarah).

Jane Yolen is one of my all-time favorite authors. I am always amazed at how she can write on such varied subjects with apparent grace and ease. The How Do Dinosaurs… series is a delight to read with my little guy. When I asked him to pick out a book that had to do with school he picked out How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? As crazy as it seems watching those giant dinos do everything wrong seems to work well in teaching how to do things right. The rhyming text engages readers and leads to great conversations about appropriate and inappropriate behavior in school. Plus, as with the other books in the series, this story ends with a positive, encouraging the kinds of actions that we really do want to see. The illustrations by Mark Teague are great, I love the expressive images found throughout the book. These dinosaurs have personalities that are as big as they are!

Published by Sarah BooksBeforeBandaids