T.O.T.Week: fresh starts

It’s not a unique take to find New Year’s Eve completely overrated. As someone who has experienced both the party-going glitterati and the hermit-in-pajamas retreat option, I am starkly in favor of the latter. I’m also a teacher, so for me, the new year starts when those little fourth grade feet enter my classroom for the first time and the room still smells like newly sharpened pencils. I don’t have the data on this one, but I would also bet that most New Year’s resolutions, primarily shared out of obligation or holiday tradition, fail. This belief is substantiated when I enter the gym around January 22nd and the crowd has completely diminished…

Yet I do embrace the cleanliness, the possibility that accompanies a fresh start. There’s something about shedding the proverbial skin of a past experience (good or bad) that promotes optimism. I would argue that it doesn’t have to just happen when the calendar number flips. Maya Angelou spoke of recognizing the truths of our past to build a better tomorrow in her inaugural poem, On The Pulse of Morning. Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall takes the whole ‘fresh start’ thing a bit literally, about a girl forced to relive the same day over and over again after a fatal car crash. In Other Words for Home, Jude comes into her identity upon moving from Syria to Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Wherever You Go reveals that even for a precocious rabbit, sometimes a new quest can lead you right back to where you began. Three out of these four books happen to be written in verse, so at least I know the poets get what I’m saying…

Wherever You Go by Pat Zietlow Miller (picture book)

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (middle grade novel)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (YA book)

On The Pulse of Morning by Maya Angelou (inaugural poem)

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