With bright illustrations and a festive atmosphere, Mitzvah Pizza puts a new twist on a familiar concept. Missy has received money for Hanukkah and knows there are almost infinite ways in which she could spend it — the choice is not an easy one to make. Discussing her dilemma with her father as they walk to get pizza, she remembers past decisions that she ultimately regretted: a beaded necklace that broke, the cinnamon candies that burned her tongue, the modeling clay that was dry and unusable.
As they wait in line to order, Missy befriends another girl. She sees that while her own dad pays in dollars, her new friend’s dad “pays” in sticky notes. Missy then notices something unique about the restaurant: one of its walls is covered with colorful pictures drawn on sticky notes. Missy asks her father what that wall is all about, and he explains that each note represents one slice of pizza. These slices have been prepaid by customers who want to give to the Piece O’Pizza Fund, enabling many community residents who can’t easily afford pizza the opportunity to eat a slice with family or friends. He comments that doing this is a mitzvah.
Ultimately, Missy decides to use her Hanukkah money to donate to the pizza fund and returns to the store to purchase and decorate her own sticky notes.
Although this book clearly teaches a lesson about giving and tzedakah, it is not at all preachy. A natural progression of events leads this young girl, and the reader, to learn the value of helping others. Going out for a meal, facing difficult dilemmas regarding money, and consulting a loving parent are experiences that will resonate with almost every reader.