illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
Dial Books for Young Readers
on sale and in libraries now
Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. In 2009, Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of September 18 and continues through September 20. The shofar (a trumpet made from a ram's horn) is blown, apples and honey (for a sweet new year) are eaten, and on the afternoon of the first day, tashlich is observed -- at a service beside naturally flowing water, one's mistakes are symbolically cast away for a fresh start in the new year.
As the the rabbi in New Year at the Pier explains, "Tashlich is the time we apologize for things we wish we hadn't done. Taschlich means to throw...Taschlich is like cleaning your heart's closet. A new year, a clean heart."
So, not only is this a story about a Jewish holiday, it is also a story about the power of apologizing. And if April Halprin Wayland had her wish, teachers would use her new book not only to start conversations about the holiday of Rosh Hashanah in the fall and again in January when talking about New Year celebrations around the world, they would use it any time a discussion about the power of apologizing and forgiving are needed.
In the story, Izzy, who is too young to write down the things he's sorry for, counts his "I'm sorries" on his fingers. He has three...no, four. The fourth one is the hardest for him to admit and apologize for. He broke the trust of his friend. He learns by apologizing, though, that his friendship is strengthened.
Watch the book trailer at April Halprin Wayland's website, and join in the tradition of Taschlich next weekend so that your heart's closet can be clean, too!