The Prince of Steel Pier

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 7
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award

A Sydney Taylor Notable Book

Tablet Magazine’s Best Jewish Kids Books of the Year

A young teen falls in with the mob, and learns a lesson about what kind of person he wants to be.

In The Prince of Steel Pier, Joey Goodman is spending the summer at his grandparents’ struggling hotel in Atlantic City, a tourist destination on the decline. Nobody in Joey’s big Jewish family takes him seriously, so when Joey’s Skee-Ball skills land him an unusual job offer from a local mobster, he’s thrilled to be treated like “one of the guys,” and develops a major crush on an older girl in the process. Eventually disillusioned by the mob’s bravado, and ashamed of his own dishonesty, he recalls words of wisdom from his grandfather that finally resonate. Joey realizes where he really belongs: with his family, who drive him crazy, but where no one fights a battle alone. All it takes to get by is one’s wits…and a little help from one’s brothers.

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Interest Level Grade 3 - Grade 7
Reading Level Grade 4
Category SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2022
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 248
Publication Date 2022-09-01
Text Type Fiction—Historical
BISACS JUV033020, JUV016150, JUV039100
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Lexile 680
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Reviewed, Teaching Guides, and eSource

Author: Stacy Nockowitz

Stacy Nockowitz is a middle school librarian and former language arts teacher. She received her bachelor's degree from Brandeis University and holds master's degrees from Columbia University Teachers College and Kent State University. Stacy lives in central Ohio with her husband and their silly dog, Lily. The Prince of Steel Pier is her first novel.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

The Prince of Steel Pier

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  • Tablet Magazine's Best Jewish Children's Books of 2022, Winner, 2022
  • Sydney Taylor Notable Book, Winner, 2022
  • National Jewish Book Award for Middle Grade Readers, Winner, 2022


Jewish Book Council

“Filled with mys­tery, may­hem, and mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ships, this fast-paced his­tor­i­cal nov­el will cap­ture any reader’s attention.”―Jewish Book Council

YA Books Central

“Readers will immediately connect with Joey’s character due to his kindness and good heart. They’ll feel empathy for him as his problems mount and root for him when things look worst.”―YA Books Central

Kirkus Reviews

“A tween gets in over his head in this introspective and nostalgic story.”―Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

“This is a fascinating glimpse into another time…It’s great!”―School Library Journal

Children's Book Watch

“A fun and thought-provoking read for children ages 8-13.”―Children’s Book Watch

School Library Journal

“This fast-paced middle grade novel will engage and resonate with readers. Recommended for school and public libraries looking to expand their historical fiction selection.”―School Library Journal