New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story


Izzy’s favorite part of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich, a joyous ceremony in which people apologize for the mistakes they made in the previous year and thus clean the slate as the new year begins. But there is one mistake on Izzy’s “I’m sorry” list that he’s finding especially hard to say out loud.

Humor, touching moments between family and friends, and lots of information about the Jewish New Year are all combined in this lovely picture book for ...

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Izzy’s favorite part of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich, a joyous ceremony in which people apologize for the mistakes they made in the previous year and thus clean the slate as the new year begins. But there is one mistake on Izzy’s “I’m sorry” list that he’s finding especially hard to say out loud.

Humor, touching moments between family and friends, and lots of information about the Jewish New Year are all combined in this lovely picture book for holiday sharing.

Winner of the Sydney Taylor Gold Medal for best Jewish picture book of the year!

Winner of the gold medal Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers—the Best Jewish Picture Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

As part of their Jewish New Year observance, Izzy's congregation, like many others, holds a Tashlich ceremony, in which sins are symbolically cast away by throwing pieces of bread into a body of water. But first, Izzy must make an "I'm sorry" list and seek forgiveness from those he's wronged. It isn't an easy or comfortable process: the list is longer than he anticipated, involves some property damage and requires him to apologize to his best friend for blabbing about a thumb-sucking habit. But because Tashlich is a collective expression of remorse (Mom asks forgiveness for "always being on the phone") and one that celebrates possibility rather than blame ("a new year, a clean heart," says the rabbi), Izzy leaves the pier feeling buoyed in both his faith and his sense of self. Wayland (Girl Coming in for a Landing) and Jorisch (Granddad's Fishing Buddy) are perfectly paired: the empathetic, low-key prose makes important points about personal responsibility without pummeling readers, while the stylish, keenly observed watercolors convey both Izzy's sheepish chagrin and the joys of communal tradition. Ages 5-8. (June)

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Association of Jewish Libraries
A child's perspective on atonement and repentance, expressed in meaningful and childlike ways, is sustained throughout a narrative that emphasizes both personal and communal atonement.
Jewish Woman Magazine
If you are introducing your youngster to the Rosh Hashanah ceremony tashlich, then you'll want to get a copy of New Year at the Pier.
JT News
Believable family interaction, a good sense of community and some lovely language permeate this very now, very real story.
Jewish Book World Magazine
[O]ffers an excellent, thorough look at forgiveness during one of the most important holidays of the year.
[A]n ideal choice for family readalouds as well as a useful addition to religious collections and public libraries.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Izzy loves autumn, the time for the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah. He particularly likes the custom of Tashlich, which means: first the listing of the things you are sorry about and then telling people that you are sorry. Izzy recalls his mistakes with regret. When the holiday services end, everyone walks to the beach. There, the rabbi reminds them that it is time for casting off the things they do not need or want to keep. Izzy tosses pieces of bread into the water for each thing that he is sorry for and then finishes giving and receiving apologies. All is forgiven. Everyone goes home with empty bread bags "…and clean, wide-open hearts." Jorisch chooses pen, ink, lightly applied watercolor, and gouache for a rather literal visualization of the story, focusing on the characters. The scene on the pier is particularly attractive, with its wide range of distinctive personalities. When Izzy and his friend Ben exchange their apologies, the humanity of the holiday's message and its psychology are clear. Notes add information on the holiday and the author's personal feelings. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3–Izzy and his family get ready for the Jewish New Year ceremony of Tashlich, when people toss pieces of bread into a body of water to represent throwing away their misdeeds. Izzy, Miriam, their mom, and their community make a sincere effort to reflect on their own behavior, to apologize to those they have wronged, and to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged them. The setting is based on the annual tradition at Manhattan Beach, CA. Poetic text and flowing autumnal illustrations support the contemplative nature of the tale. Emotions ring true: Izzy nervously puts off difficult apologies, but experiences a “clean, wide-open” heart once he has spoken up. At the same time, the characters are real and human: despite their efforts to be good, Izzy and Miriam quarrel, as siblings will. A short author’s note provides background about the holiday, but the story will be best appreciated by children already familiar with these traditions. However, the universality of emotion and the quality presentation make this book a good choice for multicultural New Year celebrations.–Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children’s Library at Congregation B’nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews
A common practice for many Jews at the time of the New Year is to perform the very public ceremony of Tashlich, or "casting off" of sins, with a symbolic throwing of bread crumbs into a body of water (stream, river, etc.). Izzy is eager to think about his sins of the past year and makes a picture list of three of them in preparation for his afternoon participation. But one sin, that of revealing the embarrassing secret of best friend Ben, is a huge concern for Izzy, and he wishes he could ignore or forget it. Jorisch's watercolor-and-gouache paintings outlined in pen and ink offer a modern, cheerful view of a community sharing a particular ritual in the course of this significant holiday balanced against a child's dilemma with how to do the right thing. Izzy's personal reflections and direct approach to apology and reconciliation set a plausible example of how failings and friendships can be improved through thoughtful behavior. A well-crafted introduction to an alternative aspect of the holiday with room for discussion. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803732797
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 6/11/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 970,936
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

April Halprin Wayland lives near Los Angeles, California.

St‚phane Jorisch lives in Quebec, Canada.

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