A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat

Published by First Second

Summary:  Dan Santat’s graphic memoir tells the story of his trip to Europe in 1989, the summer before he started high school.  Flashbacks show difficult times in middle school that have made him lose confidence in himself and want to stay invisible.  Surrounded by a supportive group of kids and an awesome teacher/chaperone, Dan flourishes in Europe, having adventures in several different countries that include sampling beer, smoking a cigarette, getting lost one night and stealing a bicycle to get home, and falling in love.  By the end of the trip, he’s experienced heartbreak but also grown and become more confident, presumably leading him to a high school experience very different from middle school.  Includes nine pages of photos and an author’s note that tells more about the trip and how he has kept in touch with the friends he made there.  320 pages; grades 5-9.

Pros:  This highly entertaining memoir will have you packing your bags for a European vacation.  Dan perfectly captures all the angst and bravado of being 13 years old, and of course his artwork is outstanding, showing many European landmarks with incredible detail.

Cons:  I was definitely planning to buy this for my elementary school library, but after reading it, I think it will be appreciated more by middle school readers.

One thought on “A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s