Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 17, 2020

Book Giveaway: SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES by Melissa Stoller

Melissa Stoller has written a new picture book, SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES, illustrated by Lisa Goldberg and publish by Spork Children’s Books. Melissa has agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Melissa and Lisa.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Sadie loves listening to Nana’s tales, especially about the traveling candlesticks, kiddush cup, and challah cover they use every Friday night. Will Sadie ever be able to tell her own special Shabbat stories, just like Nana? Based on true stories in the Author Melissa Stoller’s family, this book celebrates family history and connections.


First, thank you so much for featuring me again, Kathy, and for highlighting SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES, which just released on October 20, 2020 from Clear Fork Publishing! I’m so happy to tell you a little bit about SADIE’S journey to publication.

I was delighted that Callie Metler at Clear Fork loved this story as much as I did and signed it for her Spork Imprint. And of course, I was thrilled to work with Mira Reisberg again – she is a magical editor and art director. I’m so excited to present at her Picture Book Palooza, being held on December 5-7, 2020. I’ll be speaking about “Writing Fiction from Family Traditions.”

Here’s a link to sign up. Also, I loved your recent post featuring the amazing illustrator Lisa Goldberg – it was such a joy to collaborate with Lisa on this picture book. I know that readers will adore Lisa’s Chagall-like artwork, and will especially enjoy searching for the cat and dove that Lisa includes on many pages.

But let’s back up and start with the inspiration for this book. My story ideas often spring from an event in my family history – I definitely write what’s in my heart. SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES is all about Sadie, who loves hearing her Nana’s stories about their ancestors and Shabbat, and hopes to tell her own unique stories one day, just like Nana. I was inspired to write this book after hearing several stories over the years from the storytellers in my family. My father Harry told stories about how he and his mother were separated from his father for almost ten years during World War 1. They had returned to Europe to visit his grandparents for the first time when he was a baby, and got stuck there when the borders closed. Also, I heard stories about my husband’s grandfather, Reuben, who left Russia in 1917 when he was a teenager. He and his younger brother travelled alone to find a better life in America. In addition, my Nana told me many stories about how she grew up in New York City in the early 1900s. I wove these story threads together, keeping in mind the inspiration of my own three daughters. I try to always encourage them to use their strong voices and to tell their own stories, just like Sadie.

I want readers to connect with the idea that we are all storytellers and we have unique heritages and family heirlooms that make up the fabric of our lives. We all have our own voices that we can use to tell stories, sing songs, create artwork, and more. Whether you voice is big or small, loud or quiet, it’s your special voice. I tell that to students when I do virtual school visits. Also, especially now when we can’t always be close to family, it’s important for children to connect with their relatives, and especially older family members, to hear and record their voices and their stories. I hope that Sadie’s Shabbat Stories will encourage families to have conversations about the stories and the storytellers in their families.

As far as researching, I enjoy the research process for all of my books, whether fiction or non-fiction. For Sadie’s Shabbat Stories, I researched genealogy, I interviewed relatives, I learned about the heirlooms in my family, and I learned the name of the ship that my father sailed on back from Europe when he was nine years old (the Leopoldina). I liked sprinkling some of these details throughout the book.

All my drafts go through many revisions, starting with my own habit of working in many drafts, then working with critique partners. Thanks to all my amazing critique groups and writing pals! Editors request revisions too. In SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES, specifically, Mira asked me to shorten the vignettes that spoke about the three heirlooms – the candlesticks, the Kiddush cup, and the challah cover, and the ancestor story associated with each. Each could have been a whole book, but I had to rewrite and refine to condense. Especially in picture books, each word is important and each scene must move the story along. So revisions are really important to fine tune a manuscript and make it sing.

It’s been a long process from idea to book . . . and finally last month, the book released! Now, I’m doing virtual school, library, and community center visits, and I love sharing Sadie’s story with children and adults everywhere!

Thank you again for featuring me and SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES. I hope that your readers will enjoy the book, will be inspired to learn more about the history and heirlooms in their own families, and of course will continue writing their own stories!


Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection – Return to Coney Island (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush; Ready, Set, GOrilla!; and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories (Clear Fork, 2018 and 2020). Melissa is a Blogger and Course Assistant for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a Moderator for the Debut Picture Book Study Group, a volunteer with SCBWI/MetroNY, and a founding member of The Book Meshuggenahs. In other chapters of her life, Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. She lives in New York City with her family, and enjoys theatre, museums, and researching ancestry.

You can connect with Melissa at the following:


Lisa Goldberg is a freelance illustrator living and working on the Lower East Side of New York City.  Her background is architecture, but she rediscovered her love of picture books when her daughter was young, and found herself checking them out from the library long after her daughter had moved on to chapter books and beyond.  Several years ago she took a wonderful illustration course through the online Children’s Book Academy.  She was immediately hooked, and a few years – and a few online classes – later, her first traditionally published picture book, Sadie’s Shabbat Stories that just came out in October. Lisa was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Click here to take a look.

Thank you Melissa for sharing your book and journey with us. I love how you took your stories and let Sadie share them with the world. We all have stories. I hope your book inspires other families to write them down so they can share them with future generation and always be with us. Of course, Lisa did a fantastic job with the illustrations. I looks like a labor of love from the two of you. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a wonderful book that celebrates family and traditions! Congratulations, my friend!


    • Thank you so much, Lynne Marie! It was definitely a story of my heart and I am so happy that Lisa added her beautiful vision! Thanks for leaving a comment!


  2. Great interview! I don’t need the book because I have it, but I will definitely share this post about my good friend, Melissa and her wonderful stories. Thank you, Kathy for all your great posts!


    • Thank you Ellen and right back at you. I can’t wait to get a copy of A FLOOD OF KINDNESS, your book from the heart!


  3. Hooray! Congrats Melissa and Lisa!


  4. I love that Nana shares stories with her grand! Congrats and best wishes!

    I follow by email and will Tweet this post. 🙂


  5. Love to see books about passing traditions and wisdom to the younger generations. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your new book.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and shared an image on Pinterest with a link as well:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com. Thanks again, have a great day!!


  6. Mazel tov, Melissa and Lisa! I’m signed up for the emails and I tweeted.


  7. Congratulations, Melissa on this beautiful book. As a Bubbe, I can’t wait to get my hands on this book.


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