Gold Medal for New Children’s Book Awarded to New Year at the Pier—A Rosh Hashanah Story

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April Halprin Wayland and Stéphane Jorisch, have won the prestigious 2010 Gold Medal Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers--essentially the Best Jewish Picture Book of the Year--for their book, New Year at the Pier--a Rosh Hashanah Story.

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April Halprin Wayland and Stéphane Jorisch, author and illustrator of the picture book New Year at the Pier—A Rosh Hashanah Story, have won the prestigious 2010 Gold Medal Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers--essentially the Best Jewish Picture Book of the Year. The winning children’s book is published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. The Association of Jewish Libraries’ Sydney Taylor Book Award honors new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience.

The main character of this “affectionate, celebratory children’s story of the Jewish New Year” is Izzy, whose favorite part of the Jewish New Year is Tashlich, a joyous waterside ceremony in which people apologize for their mistakes of the previous year, cleaning the slate for the New Year. But there’s one mistake on Izzy’s “I’m sorry” list he’s finding especially hard to say out loud.

The “whimsical watercolor illustrations are a perfect paring for the delightful prose,” noted incoming Award Committee Chair Barbara Bietz.

Jewish Book World Magazine gave it five out of five stars, noting, “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.”

Industry leader, Booklist Magazine called it “an ideal choice for family readalouds as well as a useful addition to religious collections and public libraries.”

School Library Journal said, “…the universality of emotion and the quality presentation make this book a good choice for multicultural New Year celebrations.”

Children’s book author and poet April Halprin Wayland, who lives near the pier in Manhattan Beach, California, said that she was surprised by the award. “This book is about apologizing and forgiveness…and when I learned that I won, I felt personally forgiven for anything I’ve every done!” Wayland is a farmer turned folk musician turned author. Her critically acclaimed picture books, novel and poetry have garnered numerous awards and her work has been called “dazzling”, “honest, heartfelt, poignant”, and “utterly fresh and winning”. Wayland is well-known for being one of six authors on the blog Six Children's Authors Who Also Teach Writing. She’s been an instructor in UCLA Extension’s Writers Program for over a decade and teaches workshops in schools all over the world. New Year at the Pier is her sixth book.

Stéphane Jorisch, Canada’s most highly awarded children’s illustrator, has won four Canadian Governor General’s Literary Awards and the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for the most distinguished French-language book of the year, which includes one of the largest cash prizes for children's literature. Jorisch’s illustrations have been described as “light, poetic, playful, imaginative…and ingenious.” Jorisch was eager to illustrate this children’s book set near the sea. “I grew up on the St.Lawrence River, and spent most of my teens on the water, in anything that would float, propelled by motor, sail or oars.”

The Sydney Taylor Book Award memorializes Sydney Taylor, author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series. Wayland and Jorisch will receive their gold medal awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Seattle this July.

The 1:16 minute book trailer may be viewed here:

Information about the ritual of Tashlich:

Tips on forgiving and apologizing:

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