The most beautiful part of January isn’t the snow or the magical lighted displays around town, but instead it’s the chance for a new beginning. January is a refresh button and a new starting line. And as an educator, I feel the need to begin again around this time of year with a clear mind and some motivation I’ve built up over winter break. 


The students we care for every day need us to press refresh too; they also need someone to show them how to accept 2021 as it was, and make new goals for 2022. Providing them texts that show them how to do that in many different circumstances and realities can familiarize youth that starting over or embarking on a new adventure is common. Whether it’s fiction or by memoir, new beginnings truly spark change.


This popular theme is everywhere in books and other media, and this month’s features will center on new releases like Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan, older titles like Adi Alsaid’s first book Let’s Get Lost, and some you never thought you might be able to reach into for secondary education texts, like The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. No matter the book, you can slide right in as a part of their new beginning and maybe start your own at the same time.


Happy New Year! Happy new you!


Download a lesson on new beginnings using The House in the Cerulean Sea below!



Jennifer Epping is a high school English and journalism teacher in Des Moines, Iowa. She has a passion for reading, writing, and making lame jokes to her students just to see them laugh or roll their eyes. She just concluded her ninth year teaching. Epping graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in journalism and mass communication (2010) and BA in English Education (2013). She attended New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute (2010), and spent some time in children’s book publishing in New York.