Review: Three Jumps to Sorry: A Yom Kippur Story

Three Jumps to Sorry: A Yom Kippur Story

by Amy Novit, illustrated by Ana Zurita

Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Karin Fisher-Golton

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In Three Jumps to Sorry, author Amy Novit introduces Hannah, the protagonist, as someone who “was pretty delightful. Except when she wasn’t.” Sound familiar? After Hannah makes a big mistake, breaking her mother’s favorite Rosh Hashanah decoration, the story provides something we all could use—tangible steps to apologize.

I know I’m not alone in seeing that our culture has a lot of confusion around apologies. Many of us have felt our stomachs knot as we watch young children making empty apologies. Hannah tries one herself. But her mother has another idea. She makes three numbered squares that Hannah can jump on for a physical manifestation of the steps in a real apology. Not only does this clarify that a real apology is not just about the words “I’m sorry,” but jumping forward embodies its qualities of movement and change.

Novit conveys all this simply and clearly in a compact 26-page book. By demonstrating this method through a relatable situation, Novit keeps the text kid-friendly and avoids being didactic. Ana Zurita’s colorful illustrations give a warmth to the situation that work with Novit’s words to make the book all the more accessible and centered around the love of family. Her whimsical figures have large faces, where she deftly depicts the many emotions Hannah and her family experience.

Three Jumps of Sorry is set in a Jewish home, indicated by Judaic objecs that appear in most of the illustrations. The opening establishes the time frame as the day before Yom Kippur, which provides a set up for a brief description of Yom Kippur in the back matter. These references will make the book extra relevant to Jewish families who are thinking about the meaning of atonement at that time of year. However, the references are light enough that the book is accessible to everyone who sometimes needs to apologize—that is to say: everyone. While this social and emotional learning book is not the literary type of book that usually receives the Sydney Taylor Book award, it is executed exceptionally well and could be considered for a notable award to give this much-needed book well deserved attention.

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Reviewer Karin Fisher-Golton is a freelance children’s book editor and the author of the board book My Amazing Day: A Celebration of Wonder and Gratitude; retellings of folktales for a reading program; and poems in several anthologies. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Read more about her work at


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