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Celebrating the Beauty of Friendship

Planting Friendship: Peace, Salaam, Shalom written by Callie Metler, Shirin Rahman, and Melissa Stoller, illustrated by Kate Talbot. Published by Spork, an imprint of Clear Fork Publishing.

This beautifully diverse picture book highlights three young girls as they begin a new school year and experience the seasons that follow. Every child will relate to the nervousness that first day can provoke. With a lens on each household, the reader witnesses a different family member offering a token of encouragement to each child. Although the families practice different religions (Christian, Muslim, and Jewish), the token is the same -- a necklace. This similarity is what sparks the girls to approach each other.

Authors Metler, Shamsi, and Stoller craft the narrative in a seamless way to show the girls' friendship blossom from seed to garden. Meanwhile, Talbot's gentle color palette and welcoming illustrations invite the reader into the characters' homes, classrooms, and lives while gracefully introducing details specific to each religion.

Planting Seeds of Friendship is an important picture book that deserves a place in every classroom, library, place of worship, and home.

Imagine It!

Do you know a classmate who gets nervous going to school, or to playdates, or attending parties, or going anywhere else?

Imagine a token of encouragement or friendship you could offer. You could create a necklace like the girls in this story receive from their families or any sort of craft or a picture. You could make something with clay or beads or even cardboard.

Imagine a symbol or a saying that could help someone feel comforted when they are feeling anxious. Draw or paint it on the necklace or whatever you have chosen to make.

Imagine colors that are calming or hopeful. Blues, greens and yellows come to my mind. What colors can you imagine? Color or paint your token of friendship.

Now, imagine how wonderful you and your friend will feel by showing how much you care!

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