Jackie and Jesse and Joni and Jae come together with other children and adults to participate in the tashlich ritual during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
As they walk through a forest to a river, the children carry bread that they will tear up and throw into that moving body of water to represent any wrongdoings committed last year. Perhaps some of the children are not Jewish, as “Jackie asked Jesse and Joni asked Jae, / ‘Is this bread for the ducks / or a game that we’ll play?’ ” Before Jesse or Jae can answer, Rabbi Miriam explains: “On Rosh Hashanah, we all need to say / ‘I’m sorry’ to those whom we’ve / hurt in some way.” The children each remember moments when they hurt their friends, incidents that range from teasing to betraying a secret. All have apologized, but their acts still weigh on their minds. After their personal reflections, they throw their breadcrumbs into the water to take part in the symbolic communal action of asking for forgiveness. Their actions and their vows are concrete and will easily be understood by readers. The simple rhyming text adequately covers the concepts of tashlich and forgiveness for young children. The illustrations, seemingly digital, have a childlike, naïve quality. Most characters present as white, although Jae and his family appear Asian. A brief author’s note explains the custom for readers not familiar with it.
This child-friendly introduction to tashlich will be welcome in Jewish homes and classrooms and will open up secular discussions of forgiveness.(Picture book. 4-6)