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. This book 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.
Sarah Aronson holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is a full time writer and has recently published her first novel, Head Case (Roaring Brook) for young adults. Sara blogs every Thursday for the Lilith blog.