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New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story Hardcover – June 11, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


A well-crafted introduction to an alternative aspect of the holiday with room for discussion. ---Kirkus Reviews

"[T]he empathetic, low-key prose makes important points about personal responsibility without pummeling readers." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"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." --Association of Jewish Libraries

"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." --Jewish Woman Magazine

"Believable family interaction, a good sense of community and some lovely language permeate this very now, very real story." --JT News

"[O]ffers an excellent, thorough look at forgiveness during one of the most important holidays of the year." --Jewish Book World Magazine

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books; First Edition edition (June 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803732791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803732797
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.3 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Izzy is sitting in an Adirondack chair drawing some pictures instead of writing his list of things he is sorry for before Tashlich arrives. He enjoys this time of year because the season is beginning to change and loves to think about eating apples dipped in honey. Mmmmm! His sister Miriam is looking very pensive and is thinking about what to put on her list. If Izzy held up three fingers that would about do it for things he was sorry about in the past year. He slouched down in his chair and began to stick his fingers up in the air one by one. If he only did four rotten things, Tashlich would be a snap.

He drew on Miriam's "forehead . . . while she was asleep." No big deal. He lost his mother's ring at the store. That might be a problem. He broke "Mrs. Bickerson's drum . . . the one they weren't even supposed to touch." Apologizing for that one would be difficult. Oh, there was one more he would have to deal with and that was going to be really hard to deal with. He told his friend Ben he wouldn't tell anyone that he sucked his thumb and then blabbed the secret. On Rosh Hashanah Izzy began to make his apologies and received some in turn. When they went down to the pier to he listened to Rabbi Neil talk about Tashlich and how it "is like cleaning your heart's close . . . a new year, a clean heart." Would Ben ever forgive him for what he had done?

I enjoyed traveling with Izzy and his family to the pier to celebrate and "open their hearts" in forgiveness. This tradition encourages children to think about the negative effect they may have had on others during the preceding year and helps them learn about forgiveness. This story was charming and the watercolors were very appealing and meshed well with the story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover 9 on January 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The author employs her own memories of community tashlich at the beach in this loving, charmingly illustrated description of Izzy and his family and friends as they gently apologize for misdeeds, grant forgiveness, and toss breadcrumbs into the sea as part of their Rosh Hashanah observance. The accepting vibe is vaguely Reconstructionist or post-denominational - the cantor is a woman, a congregant blows the shofar, some men wear kippot, a woman wearing pants plays the guitar, the leader of the congregation is called by his first name, Rabbi Neil, and Izzy's mother appears to be a single parent. Izzy compares tashlich to cleaning out his toy closet, an example of the wonderful way this story conveys to children, at their own level, a contemporary version of the healthy Jewish way we start fresh at the beginning of each new year. - SUSAN BERSON - DENVER, CO
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jewish Book World Magazine on September 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Everyone makes "I'm sorry" lists before Taschlich, the symbolic casting away of sins into water. Author April Halprin Wayland offers a great introduction to the purpose and celebration of Taschlich. The protagonist, Izzy, is like a lot of boys. He loves "this changing time of year. Some day's sunglasses, some day's sweaters. Apples, honey, the sound of the shofar, and his favorite part of Rosh Hashanah: Tashlich!" But when he makes his "I'm sorry" list, he realizes that Tashlich is going to be more challenging than he first imagined. He is sorry for four things. For drawing on his sister's forehead, for losing Mom's ring, for breaking Mrs. Bickerson's drum, and worst of all, for promising he wouldn't tell anyone that Ben sucks his thumb--and then telling. In the careful text, Izzy makes his apologies. To his surprise, they also apologize to him, and he discovers an important element of friendship and community. New Year at the Pier will resonate with readers of all ages. It encompasses both the rituals and the heart behind the holiday. The text, inspired by Wayland's own Jewish community, sings with life and energy. Jorisch's watercolor and gouache paintings will make the reader smile. New Year at the Pier will be an excellent addition in religious school libraries and classrooms. It offers an excellent, thorough look at forgiveness during one of the most important holidays of the year. Ages 4-8 Sara Ahronson
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
April Halprin Wayland has run a marathon, traveled Europe via backpack, worked on a kibbutz, managed a walnut farm, student at UC Davis, played the fiddle, been a corporate exec and even been a nanny to a celebrity. She has had a lot of experiences, and one of them is to see Tashlich in Manhattan Beach in Southern California. Here is a story based on this experience. The story open with Izzy's mother and sister making a list of things for which they are sorry. Izzy, with carrot colored hair thinks of 3 things. Now he must approach those three or four that he has wronged and ask for forgiveness. He asks his sister to forgive him for drawing on her face as she slept. No prob. He asks his mother to forgive him for losing her ring. Both mom and sis are also sorry for ignoring him or calling him a Big Snot. As the story continues, the family arrives at the pier with a guitarist and Rabbi Neil It is time for Tashlich, a time to symbolically dispose of past errors in moving water. They blow a shofar, sing, and throw bread crumbs into the Pacific. Izzy, the fish and the seagulls all love Tashlich. But wait. It isn't over. Izzy must approach his friend Ben and ask for forgiveness for error number 4...
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