• Like Finding My Own

  • "Is it Night or Day?"
    by Fern Schumer Chapman

  • "Motherland"

    Available in English, Dutch, and German!
  • School Visits

    Book your visit with an award-winning author now!
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Watch a video from the OWN show where 8th graders reunite Holocaust survivors.

A memoir, Motherland follows a young mother’s pilgrimage into her family’s history, as author Fern Schumer Chapman uneasily accompanies her mother, Edith, a Holocaust escapee, on a baffling visit to the German village her mother left at the age of 12. Edith, the youngest member of the town’s only remaining Jewish family, was sent alone and terrified to America to escape the Nazis. Nearly half a century later, mother and daughter return to the village and gradually realize that no one has escaped the shame, guilt and lingering scars of the war.

Is It Night or Day?, a work of historical fiction, is a prequel to Motherland. In 1938 — torn away from her family and friends, her village in Germany, and everything she has ever known — 12-year-old Edith Westerfeld travels alone to distant America as her parents struggle to follow her in escaping the Nazis.

Sent to live with a hostile aunt who makes Edith a virtual servant, the girl desperately seeks to understand who she is in this new world. One girl’s journey from child refugee to American teenager mirrors and illuminates the struggle of every immigrant child as Edith searches for a new identity through school, friends, and even baseball.

Book your school visit with an award-winning author now!

Many of Fern’s programs fulfill state requirements to teach the Holocaust. All programs can be customized to the appropriate grade level. For more details, please click below.

Like Finding My Twin

Like-Finding-My-Own Like Finding My Twin On the ship that brought her from Nazi Germany to America, young Edith Westerfeld met Gerda Katz. Both 12-year-old girls were traveling alone and immediately became best friends. Unfortunately, the two unaccompanied minors lost touch after their arrival in 1938. Decades later, after a northern Illinois middle-school class read Is It Night or Day?, a historical novel that captures the two girls’ friendship, the students were so moved by the story that they made it a class project to reunite the two women. Fulfilling a shared life-long dream, the two women, now in their 80s, finally saw each other again in Seattle, Washington, in 2011. Like Finding My Twin captures the friendship of the two Holocaust refugees, the students’ research, and the remarkable reunion 73 years after Gerda and Edith shared their immigration journey.
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Teachers Guide

Aligned with the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

IMG_0083It’s 1938, and twelve-year-old Edith is about to move from the tiny German village she’s lived in all her life to a place that seems as foreign as the moon: Chicago, Illinois. And she will be doing it alone. This dramatic and chilling novel about one girl’s escape from Hitler’s Germany was inspired by the experiences of the author’s mother, one of twelve hundred children rescued by Americans as part of the One Thousand Children project.