NEW YEAR AT THE PIER–A Rosh Hashanah Story
AN AFFECTIONATE, CELEBRATORY TALE
OFÂ THE JEWISH NEW YEAR
by April Halprin Wayland
illustrated by StĂ©phane Jorisch
Izzyâ€™s favorite part of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich, a joyous waterside ceremony in which people apologize for their mistakes of the previous year, cleaning the slate for the new year.Â But thereâ€™s one mistake on Izzyâ€™s â€śIâ€™m sorryâ€ť list heâ€™s finding especially hard to say out loud.
Humor and touching moments of forgiveness between family and friends are combined in this beautifully illustrated picture book for holiday sharing.
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Iâ€™m THRILLED that itâ€™s illustrated by the multi-award-winning StĂ©phane Jorisch â€”his watercolors are fabulous (and heâ€™s a really nice person, too!)Â Here’s an article about StĂ©phane’s latest award.
Here are some photos of my friends Bruce Balan and Alene Rice and me taking part in the tradition of Tashlich.
Listen to my 5-minute acceptance speech (text below)
given at the Association of Jewish Libraries Convention in Seattle
(and hear illustrator StĂ©phane Jorisch’s letter of thanks, too)
…and if you’re a true glutton for punishment,
here’s a 35-minute podcast of a session I presented at the convention.
Kathe Schapiro Pinchuk & moi at the banquet
My SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
I have a recurring dream.Â Iâ€™m in the Davis, California, house I lived in college, or Iâ€™m in the Santa Monica rental we lived when I was in middle school, or Iâ€™m in the Manhattan Beach house I live nowâ€¦.I walk into the living room and thereâ€™s a room Iâ€™ve never seen before beyond it.Â Or I open a closet and find a new bedroom that looks out into the backyard.
Itâ€™s always wonderful.Â When I dreamed of the kitchen in my college commune, it was hugeâ€”so big that we all held hands and danced the hora in it.
Itâ€™s a room-to-breathe dream, a dream of possibilities, of new rooms in my heart.
I learned, through writing New Year at the Pier, which is about Tashlich, about apologizing and forgiving, that when I clear out the gunk in my life, my heart has more rooms in it than I knew.
So, are you all in my dream?Â Have I stumbled into a new room just beyond our bathroom?Â Because, oh, my.Â My heart is open tonight.
Itâ€™s open so wide that thereâ€™s room for the whole amazing Sydney Taylor Book Award committee and all who aided and abetted them: Susan Berson, Barbara Bietz, Kathy Bloomfield, Debbie Colodny, Heidi Estrin, Rachel Kamin, Kathe Pinchuck, and Rita Soltan.Â Thereâ€™s room for the entire Association of Jewish Libraries!Â Thereâ€™s room, in fact, for all of
you: my heart has a room for every librarian who moves books into the hands of readers.
Thereâ€™s wild party room in there, too, filled with all my fabulous fellow Sydney Taylor winners, honorees and notable writers and illustrators.
Thereâ€™s room for AJLâ€™s president, my dear friend Suzy Dubin, who championed this book since it was a spark in my eye and who critiqued several early versions of it.
Thereâ€™s room for my editors at Dial, Lauri Hornik and Jessica Garrison, who pushed me almost past my breaking point so that this book could sing.
Thereâ€™s a special room with a fish tank for my illustrator StĂ©phane Jorisch, who grew up on the St.Lawrence River, and spent most of his teens on the water.Â He is Canadaâ€™s most highly awarded childrenâ€™s illustrator, and you can see why.Â Heâ€™s a generous human being with whom I am honored to be associated.
Thereâ€™s room for my best friend since kindergarten, Elizabeth whoâ€™s here tonight.
Thereâ€™s room for my father and my mother and my warm tribe of relatives, represented by my cousins Katherine and Ben.
Thereâ€™s a spacious garage with room for a boat for Alan Jackson, my fabulous brother-in-law.
Thereâ€™s a beautiful writing room with a view of her future for my sister Lyra.
Thereâ€™s a soundproof room for my son, Jeff and the UC Berkeley marching band, thereâ€™s room for his medical lab and room to store his cherished bicycle.Â Thereâ€™s room for his beautiful spirit, too.
And thereâ€™s a special room with a Jacuzzi for Gary, my Beloved.Â There is room for you because you always have room for me.
I wrote a limerick:
An astounding New Year for this sailorâ€”
A prize, interviews and book trailer.
So many to thank!
Before I go blank,
I’m grateful…to Ms. Sydney Taylor!
Nowâ€¦Let me take you to my Manhattan Beach, CA pier during Rosh Hashanah.Â 5 p.m.Â The sun slants in its September
wayâ€”golden through the fronds of the palms that line the promenade.Â Itâ€™s summerâ€”but itâ€™s not.
We gather at the foot of the pier near the lifeguard tower, first a few families, some six year olds running in circles, the rabbi in his sunglasses, the cantor with his guitar and bullhorn.Â More of us come in sundresses, in sandals and jeans, moms and dads, teens.Â The weekenders look curiously as they bicycle past.
We walk up the pier, all 200 of us, singing avinu malkenu.Â We are a sea of celebration moving toward the head of the pier. And after a contest of shofars, after the mothers have handed out slices of bread or little bags of bread crumbs, some of us take moments, private moments in this public gathering, for silent reflection.
These moments changed me.Â I had to write about Tashlich.Â I had to bring you there.Â I want you to find your own Tashlich this New Year.Â It changed my life.Â I want it to change yours.
At the end of New Year at the Pier, after Izzy apologizes to Ben, The seagulls caw.Â â€śIt was mean,â€ť Izzy says.Â Iâ€™m sorry.â€ť
He wishes Ben
would say something.
Finally Ben says, â€śIzzy?â€ť
â€śWeâ€™ve been friends for a long-long-long-long time, right?â€ť
â€śSoâ€”because weâ€™ve been friends for such a long-long-long-long timeâ€¦youâ€™re one hundred percent forgiven.â€ť
â€śReally?â€ťÂ Izzy looks at Ben.Â Ben smiles.
â€śOkayâ€”and from now on, I promise to keep your secrets secret!â€ť Izzy says, feeding a piece of bread to Ben.
â€śAnd I promise to help you look for everything you lose,â€ť Ben says.
They toss pieces of bread out to the fish.
Izzyâ€™s heart feels as big as the ocean.
Izzy loves this changing time of year.Â Some days sunglasses, some days sweaters.Â The sound of the shofar and the salty smell of the sea.Â Time to think about his family and this whole, wide, windy world.
Everyone sings one last song.Â Then they slowly walk home, holding hands in a family-and-friends chain, with empty bread bagsâ€¦
â€¦and clean, wide-open hearts.
giving the speech…