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My school visits

Author school visits I am beginning to schedule school visits for 2010-2011. Here are my offerings: A Child’s Immigration Story (Grades 4-12) What if your parents told you they are sending you all by yourself to live in a foreign country? I take students on her mother’s frightening immigration journey from Nazi Germany to America. (powerpoint) The Legacy of the Holocaust (Grades 4-12) I explain how trauma is transmitted in ...

Boycotting Mercedes, remembering Nazi victims

Since the 1940s, one of the few ways American Jews protested the Nazi regime was to refuse to buy certain German products. High on the list was the Mercedes. (Volkswagon and German wine were other targets.) In 1998, things got complicated when Chrysler Corporation bought a majority share of Mercedes manufacturer Daimler-Benz. Then, some newspapers and magazines asked Jews if they now would begin to boycott Chrysler. Jewish writer Cynthia ...

A blogger's excellent suggestion…

The Fourth Muskateer blog: Reviews and more about historical fiction for children and teens Blogger Margo Tanenbaum wrote a thorough review of Is It Night or Day? on her site called "The Fourth Musketeer." She offered an excellent suggestion for the Afterword of the book. Originally, I had considered including a brief discussion about the 1930s immigration policies in the U.S. However, I decided that I wanted to underscore that ...

'Man is man's wolf'

1990 - Edith (wearing corsage) reunites with elementary school classmates, 52 years after she last saw them. One of my mother's German classmates from elementary school just finished reading Is It Night or Day?. He sent my mother his reaction to the book in this email. My good friend Frank Nordt translated the letter from German to English below. Liebe Edith, Fern`s Buch habe ich nun zweimal gelesen und es ...

Education.com recommends

Fifth Grade Summer Reading List by Education.com May 5, 2010 Topics: Fifth Grade, Books for Children, Summer Reading and Learning, Summer Reading by Grade Kids entering fifth grade definitely know what they like and dislike about everything ... including books! Getting your child to read over the summer is all about finding just the right book. "Keep your fifth grader excited about reading this summer by helping them find fun ...

On immigrants…

American writer and intellectual Walter Lippman "The great social adventure of America is no longer the conquest of the wilderness but the absorption of fifty different peoples." -Walter Lippman "Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists." -Franklin D. Roosevelt Computer scientist and U.S. Naval Officer Grace Murray Hopper "I handed my passport to the immigration officer, and he looked ...

The Identity Crisis of a Book

Adult? YA? Memoir? Chick Lit? Judaic? Spirituality? Bookstores and publishers love categories -- Holocaust, Judaism, Chick Lit, travel, memoir, biography, literary, etc. That's understandable since booksellers have to organize their shelves somehow. The trouble is not all books fit neatly into one category. My books are especially challenging. Both Motherland and Is It Night or Day? have been mis-categorized. Both are often labeled “Holocaust" books, though I would argue that ...

What readers are saying…

From Teen Reads blog: **** Highly recommended "Chapman makes effective use of a first person, chronological narrative to develop the story. She chooses her scenes well to reveal Edith’s loneliness and isolation as she tries to adjust to her circumstances, and the reader is quickly engaged, and cares what happens to her. Edith comes across as a complex and realistic young person who has much to struggle with. Dialogue is ...

WANTED (by Edith): Gerda Katz, not 'Gertie'

Passport photos: Gerda Katz and Edith Westerfeld In our quest to find my mother's old friend, "Gertie Katz," we discovered that my mother had the wrong spelling of her friend's name. That's not surprising, given that the two knew each other when they were 12 years old -- seventy-three years ago. The two girls immigrated together on the Deutschland. The ship left Bremen, Germany on a cold, gray day, March ...

An evolving perspective: Who's to blame?

Ever since my mother left Germany as a 12-year-old in 1938, she couldn't understand what happened to her and why. She viewed her immigration through the eyes of a child. She couldn't understand the political situation in Germany in the 1930s: Consequently, she couldn't sort out who was to blame for her separation from her parents. She didn't see Hitler as the villain; she believed her parents had betrayed her ...