We are all about fresh starts, here in America. Fresh starts have been forced upon many families as a result of the real estate crash, massive job-losses, or even after the loss of loved ones whether from divorce, death or any number of unfortunate circumstances.  The House on Dirty-Third Street is a glimpse into the resiliency of the human spirit. Gonzalez’s illustrations gradually fill with more and more color as life gets better and better for a struggling little family starting over. There is a truth to the fact that the help they receive comes after the Mother and her daughter first reach out to help their neighbors, and then are humble enough to ask for help at the corner church on Sunday. Soon, their yard and home are filled with people giving service, reaching out to lift their neighbors. It reminded me of the times when communities would gather for barn raisings and accomplish something in a brief amount of time that would be almost impossible to achieve independently.

Magic is real. You can see it all around you in the wonderful acts of kindness that go on in our schools, neighborhoods and churches. Ugly things can be transformed, communities can be changed. Life does get better. We create a wonderful synchronicity when we come together for a worthwhile cause. Kittinger’s nameless character expected starting over would bring adventure and possibly buried treasure. In her journey of beginning again, she really does find treasure- the treasure of a changing and caring community!