MELISSA STOLLER: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway


Plate of Cookies





I’ve been a friend and a fan of Melissa Stoller and her books for a LONG time! I even got to meet-up with her in person a couple of years ago when I was in New York City. And when I heard about BUILDING BRIDGES: Peace, Salaam, Shalom written by Melissa, Shirin Rahman and Callie V. Lovvorn and illustrated by Kate Talbot which is a sequel to their very popular PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: Peace, Salaam, Shalom, I asked her if she would be willing to stop by and share more about that collaboration.

Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection – Return to Coney Island and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush; Ready, Set, GOrilla!; and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories; and Planting Friendship: Peace, Salaam, Shalom (co-written with Callie Lovvorn and Shirin Rahman, illustrated by Kate Talbot). Building Bridges: Peace, Salaam, Shalom, released November 1, 2022 from Clear Fork Publishing. Melissa is a Blogger and Course Assistant for the Children’s Book Academy, a Rate Your Story Judge, a volunteer with SCBWI/MetroNY, and a founding member of The Book Meshuggenahs. She also interviews authors on her blog, This Writing Life, and offers book tips and resources. 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, enjoys theatre, museums, and Wordle and is thrilled to be represented by Jonathan Rosen at the Seymour Agency.

ME: Welcome, Melissa! It’s wonderful to have you here at Picture Book Help Kids Soar. You’ve written many books that help kids soar…and this one is extra special because it’s a sequel to PLANTING FRIENDSHIP. I want to thank you for the generous giveaway of a copy of the new book, BUILDING BRIDGES: Peace, Salaam, Shalom…and remind everyone to make sure to leave a comment for a chance to win. And now, please share how this path to publication unfolded.


Thank you for hosting me, Vivian! I’m so happy to be back, sharing about my latest picture book, BUILDING BRIDGES: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM (co-written with Callie Lovvorn and Shirin Rahman, illustrated by Kate Talbot)  – releasing November 1, 2022 from Clear Fork Publishing.

The first book we collaborated on together, PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM, released in 2021. PLANTING FRIENDSHIP is about three girls who meet on the first day of school and notice they are different, but they soon discover through a class planting project that they are more similar than they thought. We wrote this book as three women authors of the same faith traditions as the girls in the story, hoping to bring more kindness and empathy to the world.

In BUILDING BRIDGES, the same three girls discover that the bridge into their beloved Peace Park is cracking, and they must use STEM problem-solving skills and other creative solutions to help re-build the bridge. It’s a story centering around friendship and determination, with the theme of building bridges of connection between friends, families, and communities. And the story also shows that three little girls can accomplish something big. Illustrator Kate Talbot worked her magic again – the artwork is truly magnificent!


While writing both books, we wanted to bring more PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM to the world. We met approximately once a week, discussing our faith traditions and our similarities and differences. Even though we came from very different backgrounds, we found that we were more similar that we thought originally and we had travelled on similar life paths. We chose to write these books because we would have wanted to read them when we were children, to see ourselves represented in stories. Also, we wanted to combat stereotypes, and show wider perspectives through an interfaith friendship. While collaborating, we also talked a great deal about friendship – what it means to be a good friend and how to treat and nurture a friendship. We tried to include the feelings of our friendship in the book.

In the back matter for BUILDING BRIDGES, we included connection questions so that readers can extend the discussion and think about ways they can build bridges in their communities. We hope that the message threading through both books – building bridges of connection and planting seeds of friendship to help bring more peace to the world – will resonate with readers everywhere. PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM.


  1. Think of an idea for a story that you would have wanted to read as a child.
  2. Build bridges of connection with other writers: critique partners, friends from writing classes, or other people from your community. Perhaps write a story together.
  3. Think about the theme of friendship and perhaps write a story incorporating this idea.


I am happy to offer a signed book to one lucky winner, US address please.

ME: WOW! Thank you so much, Melissa, for sharing all of this with us. I’m sure many writers have thought about collaborating – you’ve shown us how it can work beautifully! But I know you aren’t finished with sharing valuable thoughts with us…there’s something sweet on the horizon, I believe. And guess what folks…it’s NO BAKE!!!

MELISSA: Here is an easy, no-bake recipe, adapted from Mari Levine for Jewish Boston:



4 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, softened
½ cup light brown sugar
1¼ cup old-fashioned oats
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 cup chocolate chips


1. In large bowl, use whisk to cream together butter, sugar and vanilla. Add all remaining ingredients except for chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

2. Drop spoonfuls onto a plate. 

3. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


We will, Melissa. We will!
And if any of you would like to connect with Melissa and/or find out more about her books:

Dear friends, please make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of BUILDING BRIDGES: Peace, Salaam, Shalom. And also, please share the post on social media, tag friends/teachers/librarians who should have a copy of this, review the book on Amazon and Goodreads, and ask your local library to purchase copies for their collection.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

19 thoughts on “MELISSA STOLLER: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

  1. I bought Planting Friendship and donated it to the Saranac Lake Public Library! What a wonderful book by 3 awesome writers! I’m sure Building Bridges won’t disappoint! Such an important concept. Peace, Saalam, Shalom. And the cookie recipe looks yummy! I’ll have to try it!

    Liked by 1 person

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