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Children's Fiction Cooking & Food

Tzimmes for Tzipporah

by (author) Megan Hoyt

illustrated by Christine Battuz

Behrman House
Initial publish date
Aug 2023
Cooking & Food, Jewish, New Experience, Farm & Ranch Life, Other, Religious
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it



"A wonderful addition to any collection of multicultural children's literature." --School Library Journal

"A lovely book to read aloud at the start of a fresh new year." --Jewish Book Council

"This authentic Jewish story is unique in connecting tradition with family farming.” --The Sydney Taylor Shmooze


This count down to the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah explores life and celebration on a family farm through the eyes of a young girl allowed to help with preparations for the first time.

It’s just three days until the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. A young girl and her family are getting ready for the traditional holiday feast. Family and friends gather to help harvest and clean the fall root vegetables, mix them with honey and dried fruits, and cook them into the traditional sweet vegetable stew, called tzimmes, ‘for a sweet new year.’ It’s hard but satisfying work that leaves everyone with aching arms, sore feet and happy hearts. When Rosh Hashanah morning arrives, they join together at the synagogue to hear the shofar, the horn that is blown to announce that the holiday has arrived. Back at home on their farm with a diverse group of friends and neighbors, they celebrate both a new year and the joy of being together.

This food and farm-focused story is sweetened by illustrations full of cheerful colors and textured patterns. Award-winning author Megan Hoyt helps readers explore both culturally specific Rosh Hashanah practices and life on a small family farm, while providing a universal message of community and tradition.

About the authors

Megan Hoyt is the winner of the 2017 SCBWI Work in Progress Award and serves as Membership Coordinator for the SCBWI Carolinas region.  Megan's debut picture book, Bartali's Bicycle (February 2021) has garnered many accolades, including being selected as a National Jewish Book Award finalist and placed on the Master List for the Texas Bluebonnet Award. Megan has three more non-fiction picture books forthcoming, also with HarperCollins: The Greatest Song of All: How Violinist Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall, A Grand Idea: How William J. Wilgus Created The Grand Central Terminal, and Kati’s Tiny Messengers: Dr. Kati Kariko and the Fight Against Covid-19. When she is not writing, she loves to swim, walk beside the Catawba river, and read. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Megan Hoyt's profile page


CHRISTINE BATTUZ est née en France et a obtenu une maîtrise de l’Académie des beaux-arts de Pérouse, en Italie. Elle a illustré plus de soixante livres jeunesse et a enseigné l’art aux enfants de tous âges. Elle vit à Bromont, au Québec.


CHRISTINE BATTUZ was born in France and received her Masters of Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts of Perugia in Italy. She has illustrated over sixty books for children, and has taught art to children of all ages. She lives in Bromont, Quebec.


Christine Battuz's profile page


  • Nominated, Triple Crown Award
  • Commended, Society of Illustrators Featured Artist
  • Winner, NY Public Library Best Kids Book
  • Long-listed, Texas Bluebonnet Award Masterlist
  • Short-listed, Wisconsin State Reading Association
  • Short-listed, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
  • Short-listed, National Jewish Book Award Finalist
  • Short-listed, Indie Next List
  • Short-listed, Dogwood Readers Award
  • Short-listed, Rhode Island Children's Book Award
  • Winner, Cybils Award
  • Short-listed, Junior Library Guild Selection

Editorial Reviews

"It's almost time for Rosh Hashanah, and Tzipporah is finally old enough to help! She excitedly puts on her coat and boots and races outside to help her family dig up the root vegetables they planted on their farm. Hoyt (Bartali's Bicycle) thoroughly, but concisely, tells the story of family and friends celebrating Rosh Hashanah, including their time at the synagogue and the blowing of the shofar. The illustrations' color, bucolic scenery irrefutably support the text and the happiness Tzipporah feels about celebrating the autumn holiday and being old enough to help make the dish of tzimmes. Her playful brown poppy is in almost all the illustrations, as are many chickens, cats, cows, and other farm animals. The illustrations also show the diversity of Tzipporah's community. The text is a bit confusing at the beginning of the story; when Tzipporah races outside to help her family dig up vegetables, the text says she "races down the rows," but the illustrations show her racing down the stairs. VERDICT A wonderful addition to any collection of multicultural children's literature." -- School Library Journal


"It is almost Rosh Hashanah, and the har­vest is ready. Tzip­po­rah and her fam­i­ly pick rutaba­gas, yams, turnips, pota­toes, and car­rots. Then, she and her friends choose the most beau­ti­ful of the veg­eta­bles and scrub them for the Rosh Hashanah meal. Tzip­po­rah is unsure whether these raw veg­eta­bles will make an entic­ing meal for the hol­i­day, but she driz­zles but­ter on them and adds brown sug­ar, hon­ey, cin­na­mon, and fruit. A deli­cious tzimmes is the result. After the syn­a­gogue ser­vice and the blow­ing of the sho­far, the fam­i­ly gath­ers for their feast, and the tzimmes is beau­ti­ful and sweet — just like Rosh Hashanah itself. A tzimmes recipe is append­ed, along with an author’s note that gives more infor­ma­tion about Rosh Hashanah and makes a spe­cial point of encour­ag­ing chil­dren to help pre­pare the fam­i­ly meal. The beau­ti­ful illus­tra­tions depict a farm that is burst­ing with autumn col­or and com­plete with a mul­ti­cul­tur­al group of smil­ing fam­i­ly and friends. This is a love­ly book to read aloud at the start of a fresh new year." --The Jewish Book Council


"It's the first year that Tzipporah is old enough to help with the early fall harvest on her family's farm. Three days before the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, she rides on the tractor driven by her father, and they turn the soil. Tzipporah learns that the tractor has uncovered various root vegetables. Two days before Rosh Hashanah, our little main character helps gather the rutabagas, yams, turnips, potatoes, and carrots. She and her friends scrub off all the dirt. The day before Rosh Hashanah, Tzipporah and her folks ready the tzimmes, using an old family recipe. And on Rosh Hashanah they enjoy the tzimmes with friends and family after synagogue. A recipe and an author's note round out this sweet farm-to-table Rosh Hashanah story. The illustrations, which are bright and engaging, depict a light-skinned family with a darker-skinned friend. The tzimmes and brisket menu suggests an Ashkenazic family. The family drives to synagogue on the holiday, hence representing branches of Judaism whose members do so as well.


The book is a good contender for the Sydney Taylor award. This authentic Jewish story is unique in

connecting tradition with family farming. Reading this book prior to Rosh Hashanah will give an opportunity to talk about where food comes from as well as ways to prepare for the holiday. Jewish and non-Jewish readers will learn about root vegetable farming, tzimmes, and basics about Rosh Hashanah." --The Sydney Taylor Schmooze


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