Today I’m sharing my interview with Julie Danneberg, the author of the clever and funny book, FIRST DAY JITTERS, illustrated by Judy Love. The JITTERS series, now includes a sixth book: VALENTINE’S DAY JITTERS which is why Julie is here celebrating one month before the holiday! As a teacher, I looked forward to reading FIRST DAY JITTERS with students every year and it was always met with enthusiasm. A book that appeals to a wide variety of ages is a treasure. Then, I moved to Boulder County, Colorado where I met Julie, who is also a treasure, and of course funny, as you will soon find out! We’ve been in an author’s group and a book group for four years. If you know me, you know I am a big fan of LOVE and Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, so when I heard about this book, my heart did a happy dance! Get some chocolates and enjoy Julie’s wonderful interview.
Julie is generously offering one lucky winner a copy of VALENTINE’S DAY JITTERS. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
The target age of my audience is early elementary school. When I was in first grade, I had a love/ hate relationship with school. I loved my teacher, Miss Richter, and once I got to school, I enjoyed it. However, getting me to school was quite a problem. I pretended I was sick so often (so I could hang out with my younger brother who didn’t have to deal with the confines of academic life yet) that my mother finally put her foot down and said that I could only miss school when I had a fever. That’s when one of my older brothers stepped in to help and showed me how to hold the thermometer next to the heater vent to raise the temperature. The first time I tried it, my mother caught on. Perhaps the fact that my temperature was over 104 degrees tipped her off.
Like I said though, when I got to school, I loved it. I loved to read. I loved to paint pictures and I kind-of liked math. And of course, there was always recess! I did acquire a modicum of fame that year by telling everyone in my first grade class that Paul McCartney was my cousin. The class was suitably impressed, and Mrs. Richter never let on that owning one of the Beatles albums, no matter how cool, did not make us relatives.
All through elementary school, I was lucky enough to have teachers that I liked. Fifty some years later I can still remember all of their names. And if that isn’t a testament to how amazing they were, I don’t know what is!
What inspires you?
VALENTINE’S DAY JITTERS is the 6th book in the Jitters series, the first one being FIRST DAY JITTERS. All of the books are loosely based on things that happened when I was teaching. In fact, for many years I kept a file where I wrote down some of the funny things kids said and did in my class. As you can imagine, by the end of my teaching career, that file was pretty thick!
Taking the question one step further, the bigger answer to what inspires me is real life. Travel, teaching, learning new things, and now, spending time with my grandchildren.
What’s one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
When they read VALENTINE’S DAY JITTERS as well as any of the other books in the Jitters series, I hope young readers will see that teachers, even though they try hard, sometimes goof up and make mistakes. And that’s okay. I also hope they see that most teachers, certainly every teacher I’ve ever met, are in this profession because they love kids, they love learning, and they truly love teaching. Finally, I hope they see that students have the opportunity every day to show kindness to each other and, gasp, to their teachers as well. When they do that, being at school can be a pretty amazing place to be!
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me? That’s easy. More writing! More learning! And hopefully, once this pandemic is over, a chance to get into classrooms again and talk to students and teachers!
To connect with Julie and learn more about her books:
Website: www.juliedanneberg.com Twitter: @DannebergJulie