I can’t imagine what I would have done over the past few years if I had not had literature available to me. I admit that my definition of literature is broader than most people’s—I include film, television and even song lyrics. Most of us were dependent, at least to some extent, on some form of literature to keep us distracted, comforted and connected during lock downs, quarantines and social distancing.

Books even helped me forge some new relationships. A friend of mine started a social distancing book group. We started meeting in Zoom, and we’re still meeting now. Everyone is an educator, but we’re in three different states. It’s been interesting to compare and contrast the strategies that our communities, colleges, and schools have employed to keep the lights on and the fires of learning lit.

Like many educators, I have a school age child living in my home, and when the boundaries between school and home became virtually non-existent, it was hard on everyone. She lost an important year of high school, and I suffered her losses as all parents suffer with their children–helplessly. Watching her gave me insight into the experiences of my students. Even now, I can see the ways that online learning and thwarted expectations have marked them.

This year’s theme reflects their journey, and I am dedicating this edition to Generation Z. One of my wonderful volunteers, Mackenzie Richardson, suggested the themes of Growth and Change. They are perfect for the times we are living in. Growth and change are not always pleasant, but they are inevitable and transformative.

Fruition is what happens once our plans are completed, once our work is done, once our growth and change have resulted in something sweet and colorful and healthy. It is my goal for my students, for my daughter and for all of Generation Z.