Thursday 11 March 2021

Researching for Chapter Books by Melissa Stoller #ChaBooCha

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay


Today, I want to challenge us all to find research opportunities even during the pandemic. Of course it’s not easy to research in person these days. But there are many online resources available to continue the research process until we can find in-person sources and materials. 


Here is a list of some research resources, both in person and online, that might be helpful: 


Resources – helpful places 

  • In person / phone / email / experts / field trips (to gain sensory details) 

  • Local Librarians / Colleges  / Universities 

  • Museums/historical societies/science centers/cultural centers/workshops/classes/associations/hobby groups 

  • Books, articles, internet sources, footnotes found in internet articles, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc. 

  • Cemeteries / headstones 

Websites – Helpful sites include:  


Here are a few examples of my ancestry research online – I searched for information about my father, Harry Z. Berger, on the Ellis Island website and through when I was writing my picture book, SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES. Now I’m digging deeper into the Leopoldina, the ship that brought my father back home to New York, for use in a chapter book I am working on. 


Another example of 
my pandemic research is for a story about seals. During quarantine, I have been taking lots of seal-watching walks along the coast of Long Island, New York. also was able to do an online interview with a seal specialist at the Long Island Aquarium. Here are some photos. I’m trying to work this research into both a picture book and a chapter book draft.  


This year has certainly presented many challenges to us all – large and small – including staying creative and pursuing research for our stories. I hope that these ideas and resources will spark some research possibilities as you craft your own stories. Let me know in the comments. 





Melissa is offering  a choice of a critique (first three chapters of a chapter book) or a copy of THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION: RETURN TO CONEY ISLAND (or any of her  other books), United States address only.  All you need to do to enter in the drawing for this prize is, if you are already a signed-up member of the challenge, is to comment on this blog post. The winner will be announced on March 14th, 2021, chosen by a random number generator.



Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection - Return to Coney Island (Clear Fork Publishing); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush, Ready, Set, GOrilla!, and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories (Clear Fork). Melissa is a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, Blogger and Course Assistant for The Children’s Book Academy, 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 long beach walks. 



  1. Thanks for this post and all the handy links!

  2. Thank you for all the research possibilities. I don’t know if I need them for my chapter book because it’s kind of pretty much a fantasy novel like literally I imagine it’s like a cartoon but there might be something in there I can use. Or I can use it for my other stories.

  3. Thank you for that great list of resources! Another idea for researching one's topic--see if music or a certain cuisine helps. For ex, my chap book takes place in another country, so I immerse myself in their favorite foods & music. Love the seal pics, too!

    1. Now that's fun research -- FOOD! and music . . . can't get much better than that. :)

  4. Thanks Melissa for this great advice and links to awesome resources.

  5. Thanks for the list! I never know about some of them.

  6. I have picked up a chapter book draft I had worked on last year and am working on expanding and revising it.

  7. Love the list of resources. Thanks.

  8. I love this post for so many reasons...a look into your own research process as well as the research resources list. Thanks for making this challenge even easier!

    Great post!

  9. These are wonderful ideas and resources Melissa. Thank you for sharing them!

  10. I can't wait to hear more about the Leopoldina story and the seal research sounds fascinating! Great tips and advice, Melissa!

  11. What great resources! It couldn't have come at a better time for me as I'm delving into my historical fiction chapter book inspired by my Great Grandfather. Thank you!