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Pumpkin Pie for Sigd

Denise Damanti
When Maddie feels homesick for Thanksgiving after her move to Israel, her new friend Orly invites her to celebrate the Jewish Ethiopian holiday of Sigd. Lovely lessons to learn here, gently and kindly told. -Kirkus Reviews
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Maddie has just moved to Israel and is excited to celebrate the Ethiopian Jewish holiday of Sigd with her new friend Orly. But what about her own favorite fall holiday, Thanksgiving? Will Maddie be able to celebrate it in her new country? She's determined to find out!

Together, Maddie and Orly go on a quest to find the ingredients for a delicious pumpkin pie and bring a taste of the United States to Israel.

Along the way, they'll discover how their two holidays (and they themselves) have so much in common.

Includes a parent note about the holiday of Sigd and its underlying value of gratitude.

About the Author

JENNIFER TZIVIA MACLEOD is the author of Fast Asleep in a Little Village in Israel. She is also the proud mother of four children (two big and two bigger) and lives in northern Israel. She loves creating stories for her children and their friends.

About the Illustrator

DENISE DAMANTI was skating at a professional level when she encountered the Nemo Academy of Visual Arts and chose to become an illustrator. This is her first picture book published in the United States. She lives in Empoli, Italy with her family.

Kirkus Reviews

Maddie is adjusting to her new life in Israel, but she misses Thanksgiving with her U.S. relatives.

When Maddie’s new friend Orly invites her to a celebration of Sigd, an Ethiopian Jewish holiday, Maddie decides to contribute a pumpkin pie to the feast. There are no pumpkins or evaporated milk in Israel, so Maddie and Orly draw pictures of the missing ingredients to show to their neighbors, all Jewish families from around the world, by way of asking for contributions across language barriers. Mrs. Ivanova from Ukraine substitutes a butternut squash for the pumpkin. Mr. Tautang from India provides coconut cream, and Mrs. Calderon from Mexico supplies tortillas for a pie crust. Together, Maddie, her dad, and Orly prepare the pie. Everyone samples the food at the feast, just like Thanksgiving. Maddie tries several “interesting” dishes and politely puts them aside. When Orly has exactly the same reaction to the pie, giggles ensue. The kess, an Ethiopian rabbi, reminds them that Sigd and Thanksgiving are both opportunities to be thankful that they are in Jerusalem together. With a diverse cast of appealing characters and the sweet friendship between the two girls, MacLeod stresses the connections among all the members of the Jewish diaspora. Damanti’s detailed vignettes follow the proceedings closely and depict the dark brown skin of the Ethiopian characters, the brown and white shades of the neighbors, as well as Maddie and her dad’s midtoned shades of white.

Lovely lessons to learn here, gently and kindly told. (author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 5-9)
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