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Blog: This Writing Life


  • Writer's pictureMelissa Stoller


Updated: Apr 6, 2020

We hope kids at home will enjoy these book-related activities, including writing prompts and a challah recipe, as well as coloring sheets - based on SADIE'S SHABBAT STORIES, written by Melissa Stoller and illustrated by Lisa Goldberg (releasing from Clear Fork Publishing in Fall 2020):

1) Writing About Jewish Objects:

In Sadie’s Shabbat Stories, Nana and Sadie tell stories about Shabbat candlesticks, a Kiddush cup, a challah cover, and a Star of David necklace. What types of ritual or celebration objects can you find in your home? Write a story using one or more of the objects. Draw illustrations to add to the story.

2) Writing About Relatives’ Stories:

Nana tells Sadie stories about her relatives. Ask relatives to tell you stories about their lives. Interview your relatives – record them speaking if possible. You can also view old photographs or videos to get more insight. Write a story using some of your relatives’ experiences and draw a scene from the photos.

3) Book Cover:

Look at the Sadie’s Shabbat Stories book cover. Write a story based on something that catches your attention from the cover. Add illustrations.

4) Book Title:

Think about the book title. Write your own story based on the title or make up a new title of your own. Add illustrations.

5) Challah Recipe:

With an adult, bake your own challah. Here is an easy and child-friendly challah recipe from


1 package dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs plus 1 extra egg yolk

3 1/2 cups flour plus some extra


1 Check with a grownup, and wash your hands before you begin.

2 Break three eggs into a small bowl. Beat them slightly with the fork. Set aside.

3 Put the warm water and yeast into the large bowl. Stir with the wooden spoon until the yeast is dissolved. (The yeast is what will make the bread rise.)

4 Add honey and salt to the water and yeast. Stir until dissolved.

5 Add the three beaten eggs to the big bowl mixture. Stir in.

6 Add the 3 1/2 cups of flour, a little at a time, and stir into the liquid. The dough will be very sticky.

7 Sprinkle cutting board with some flour. Place the dough on the board, and knead the dough for five minutes. Since it's so sticky, use just your fingers (not your whole hands).

8 Put the dough back into the large bowl and cover it with the damp cloth. The cloth will keep the dough from drying out as it rises. Leave it alone for two hours.

9 When you look at it again, the dough will have become much bigger! With your fingers, push the dough back down to a smaller size (so it is about the same size as when you made the dough in the first place).

10 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

11 Put the dough back onto the floured cutting board, and divide it into three equal portions.

12 Here's where you braid the dough (this is what makes a challah look like a challah!). Sprinkle some extra flour on each portion of dough to make it a little less sticky. Roll or pull each piece to make a tube of dough about 12" to 15" long. Lay the three tubes next to each other, then braid them. To do this, cross the right one over the middle one (so the tube that WAS the right one is now the middle one). Then cross the left one over the middle one (so the tube that WAS the left one is now the middle one). Keep doing this until it's all braided.

13 Put the braided dough onto the cookie sheet.

14 The last step before cooking is to cover the dough in one egg yolk. To do so, gently crack a fourth egg, and pry apart the two halves with your thumbs, making sure to keep the egg in the two half-shells. Then pour the egg yolk from half to half, letting as much egg white as possible dribble out each time into a small bowl. Eventually, you'll have just the yolk in one shell.

15 When you've done that, put the yolk into a different small bowl. Break the yolk with your fingers, smoosh it around, the finger-paint the top of the dough with the yolk. This will make it brown nicely.

16 Using oven mitts, put the dough into the oven. Cook for 35-45 minutes.

17 At the 35-minute mark, check to see if it's done by looking at it (it should be a nice golden brown) and by tapping it with a spoon (it should be crusty). If it's not quite done, put it back in the oven for five minutes.

18 When it's all ready, use your oven mitts to remove the baking pan and bread from the oven.

19 Clean up the kitchen before you enjoy your food. That way, when you're done, your challah will have cooled off.


UTENSILS: Measuring spoons Measuring cup Large bowl Small bowls (3) Wooden spoon Fork Cutting board Damp cloth Cookie sheet


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