School Visits

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“I have witnessed many author presentations, and I have never seen students so engaged.”

Patricia Stacey, Thompson Middle School, St. Charles, Illinois

“Fern’s ability to connect with students on poignant topics of identity, struggle, and perseverance makes her a can’t-miss opportunity for your school.”
David Lopez, Literacy Coach, Morton High School, Cicero, Illinois

Student comments:

“I will never forget this moment. I will tell my kids…” ~ Danny

“You taught us to celebrate our differences and, for that, I am thankful!” ~ Aisha



Illinois Reads author Fern Schumer Chapman has a busy speaking schedule. She speaks on a variety of topics (see below) and some presentations can help your district meet the state mandate for Holocaust education. Teacher’s Guides are available for all of her books.


Contact: [email protected]

Her offerings include:


The subject of Ms. Chapman’s books, her mother, Holocaust refugee Edith Westerfeld Schumer, often accompanies the author on school visits.

~ Confronting the Past: How do countries atone for national crimes (based on new book, Stumbling On History.)

~ A Child’s Immigration Story:  Edith’s journey from Nazi Germany to America (PowerPoint)

~ How compassionate 8th graders reunited two Holocaust refugees  (PowerPoint presentation and a video clip of the actual reunion from the OWN network )

~Fall Kick-off Assembly: Developing School Character and School Culture (based upon role models in Fern’s books)

~ Writers Workshop


Trauma: The Legacy of the Holocaust

Fern will explain to students the difficulties of having a parent who has experienced so much loss in childhood. In addition, during this program, she explores the nature of trauma and how it is transmitted in families. (This program was added after several teachers recognized that many of their students suffer from traumatic events. They asked FSC to help students understand the long reach of trauma.)

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 11.47.13 AMFamily Stories Workshop (A Title 1 Favorite – PowerPoint presentation about the importance of family stories)

The purpose of this session is to help children learn about their parents’ histories. Fern works with families in groups as children learn how to ask questions about their parents’ early life experiences and parents share some of their stories. Great opportunity for families to bond.

Adult and Parent/Child Book Clubs

Fern’s books have been popular with adult and parent child book clubs. She gives evening presentations to these groups.

Teacher In-service

Fern shares with teachers some of the many effective exercises she uses when teaching students how to write. She also conducts discussions with educators on teaching moral choices in the classroom.

Fern can tailor a program that fits your educational objectives. For schools with a limited budget, she offers SKYPE discussions with classes.


Contact the author at  [email protected]



More details about the programs:

LENGTH OF PROGRAMSpresentationshot

Depending upon grade and type of presentation, from thirty to sixty minutes.

AUDIENCE SIZE Fern will tailor her program to the grade and size of your audience. No limits on attendance for assemblies. Workshops work best with groups fewer than 50.



“When I was a child, I always sensed something was missing; my understanding of my family’s history and my own identity were limited by my mother’s inability to speak of her past. My mother, a Holocaust refugee, coped with the losses of her family, language, and homeland by divorcing herself from her childhood and identity. As far as I could see, she had no family, no traditions, no stories, no childhood friends.

“‘Identity is derived from self, family, place, and past,’ I wrote in Motherland. ‘For me, most of those elements have been unknowable and my mother has been in many ways unreachable.’ Consequently, I was inspired to write two books in my quest to understand my mother and myself.

Edith's Last Family Photo

1938 – This was the last photograph taken of Edith (the author’s mother) and her parents.

“In my Child Immigration Assembly, I tell the story of my mother’s child immigration through a Powerpoint presentation that captures images of the One Thousand Children project. Through her story, children identify with one young immigrant’s difficulties of trying to assimilate in America. I challenge students to think about how they welcome new students into their schools and communities.

“In addition, in my presentations to upper grades, I give children a sense of what forms identity. I illustrate how the way our families and peers treat us define us. In turn, I show how those experiences can be transmitted to the next generation.”

Download school book order form here:

school book order form

Contact [email protected] to arrange for school speeches.

Links to other authors who visit schools:

Kim Norman at

School Visit Sign-Up

To book a school visit with Fern Schumer Chapman, please fill out the form below and someone will be in contact with you shortly.
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