Danneberg, Julie 1958–
DANNEBERG, Julie 1958–
PERSONAL: Born 1958, in Denver, CO; married; children: one daughter, one son. Education: University of Colorado, Boulder, B.S. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, gardening, biking, traveling, listening to music, sewing.
ADDRESSES: Home—Denver, CO. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Charlesbridge Publishing, 85 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472.
CAREER: Former special education teacher in Colorado; currently middle-school teacher in Denver, CO; writer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Children's Book designation, Colorado Center for the Book, 2000, for Margaret's Magnificent Colorado Adventure; Storyteller Award, 2000, for First Day Jitters; Regional Book Award, Mountains and Plains Booksellers, 2003, for Women Artists of the West: Five Portraits in Creativity and Courage.
Margaret's Magnificent Colorado Adventure, Westcliffe Publishers (Englewood, CO), 1999.
First Day Jitters, illustrated by Judy Love, Charles-bridge Publishing (Watertown, MA), 2000.
Amidst the Gold Dust: Women Who Forged the West, Fulcrum Resources (Golden, CO), 2001.
Women Artists of the West: Five Portraits in Creativity and Courage, Fulcrum Publishing (Golden, CO), 2002.
Women Writers of the West: Five Chroniclers of the Old West, Fulcrum Publishing (Golden, CO), 2003.
First Year Letters, illustrated by Judy Love, Charles-bridge Publishing (Watertown, MA), 2003.
Cowboy Slim, illustrated by Margot Apple, Charles-bridge Publishing (Watertown, MA), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Julie Danneberg spends the first hour of each day writing, whether it be personal notes in a journal, award-winning children's books, or just ideas for future projects. The busy school teacher/author draws upon her background as a third-generation resident of Colorado for inspiration, and several of her books profile notable woman who have made a mark on the American West. Danneberg is probably best known, however, for the picture books Margaret's Magnificent Colorado Adventure, First Day Jitters, and First Year Letters. These playful stories offer unconventional approaches to life-altering moments in childhood.
Margaret's Magnificent Colorado Adventure combines the history and geography of Colorado with the tale of a ten-year-old girl who keeps a journal as she travels with her parents and younger brother. Margaret faithfully records real information about the state through which she is traveling, but occasionally her temper frays when she has to deal with her annoying sibling. Danneberg's debut work, Margaret's Magnificent Colorado Adventure won a best children's book citation from the Colorado Center for the Book.
First Day Jitters and First Year Letters both feature Sarah Jane Hartwell. In First Day Jitters Sarah Jane faces an important milestone: It is her first day at school and she does not want to get out of bed, eat her breakfast, or face the principal and the scary students. What sets this picture book apart from so many books about children beginning school is its surprise ending, where readers discover that even adults can be afraid of new beginnings. According to Adele Greenlee in School Library Journal, Danneberg's joke "provides a good laugh and children may find it reassuring that they are not alone in their anxieties about new situations." Connie Fletcher, writing in Booklist, also found First Day Jitters a "wittily drawn and suspensefully told story. Fletcher concluded that Danneberg's tale is "funny and insightful."
Sarah Jane's adventures continue in First Year Letters. Through a classroom mailbox, Sarah Jane receives notes from the students that describe the many amusing—and distressing—incidents that mark a school year. While most of the notes Sarah Jane receives are typed, some are hand-written, and they demonstrate how students learn writing skills over the course of a year. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the book "both funny and touching," while in School Library Journal Piper L. Nyman maintained that First Year Letters is "easy to read," and that children "will relate to and enjoy this book." Diane Foote concluded in Booklist that students and teachers "will appreciate this unusual take on the ups and downs of a school year."
Danneberg has also written several books about women who lived and worked in the American West. Women Writers of the West: Five Chroniclers of the Old West explores the lives of Jesie Benton Fremont, Louise Clappe, Mary Hallock Foote, Helen Hunt Jackson, and Gertrude Bonnin, each of whom used her writing talents as a means of communicating individuality. The profiles in Women Artists of the West: Five Portraits in Creativity and Courage include Maria Martinez, Georgia O'Keefe, Laura Gilpin, Dorothea Lange, and Mary-Russell Colton. The artwork under study varies from traditional Pueblo pottery crafted by Martinez to Depression-era photographs snapped by Lange.
Amidst the Gold Dust: Women Who Forged the West offers an historical/fictitious glimpse into the life of women during the gold rush that swept Colorado and California in the nineteenth century. In Book Report, Tena Natale Litherland suggested that the work's characters lacked depth, but nonetheless praised Dannenberg for including "interesting sidebars of historical facts." Patricia Ann Owens, reviewing the book for School Library Journal, liked the way the character sketches reveal "determination, perseverance, and hard work."
On her home page, Danneberg declared that she loves being a writer and enjoys the process of jotting notes as much as the efforts required to create a book that will be acceptable to editors and publishers. "Being a writer has given me the chance to learn all sorts of new things, go new places and meet new people," she said. "Also, being a writer gives me the excuse to read, read and read some more!"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2000, Connie Fletcher, review of First Day Jitters, p. 1386; February 1, 2003, Diane Foote, review of First Year Letters, p. 1000.
Book Report, September-October, 2001, Tena Natale Litherland, review of Amidst the Gold Dust: Women Who Forged the West, p. 74.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2002, review of First Year Letters, p. 1848.
Kliatt, May, 2003, Carol-Ann Hoyte, review of Women Artists of the West: Five Portraits in Creativity and Courage, p. 41; November, 2003, Edna Boardman, review of Women Writers of the West: Five Chroniclers of the Old West, p. 32.
School Library Journal, May, 2000, Adele Greenlee, review of First Day Jitters, p. 133; June, 2001, Patricia Ann Owens, review of Amidst the Gold Dust, p. 167; April, 2003, Piper L. Nyman, review of First Year Letters, p. 118.
Julie Danneberg Home Page, http://www.juliedanneberg.com (February 7, 2005).