Award-winning author Fern Schumer Chapman maintains a busy speaking schedule. She speaks on a variety of topics (see below) at an assortment of venues -- schools, churches, charity events, book groups, women's luncheons, and libraries. For teachers and school administrators, her presentations can help your district meet state mandates for Holocaust education. Other programs fit into units on immigration, health, or ethics. Comprehensive teacher’s guides are available on her website for all of her books at no cost.
Fern's programs include a PowerPoint presentation and a brief video. She customizes her programs to serve the needs of your school.
Programs in the Press
ABC7-Chicago covered a recent FSC school visit. Here's the news story: https://abc7chicago.com/education/holocaust-survivor-daughter-meet-des-plaines-middle-school-students/2935880/
Viking Middle School in Gurnee, IL used Three Stars in the Night Sky as an all-school reads selection. Here is the special website the school created about the program: http://threestarsinthenightsky.weebly.com
Online Presentations Now Available!
With schools transitioning to remote learning, Fern offers her various programs as Zoom events for individual classes at reduced rates. Fern can accommodate as many as 20 classes on a Zoom call or she will happily serve an individual class and alter her presentations to meet students’ needs.
Timely presentation on issues of historical responsibility
Our nation is experiencing an unprecedented re-examination of our past. Americans are asking what and whom we ought to remember, honor, and memorialize. Young people have played an important role in this national dialogue.
This program focuses on the installation of Stolpersteine, Stumbling Stones, to memorialize victims of the Holocaust. Based upon the book, Stumbling on History: An Art Project Compels a Small German Town to Face its Past, this program focuses on one German town’s wrenching reconsideration of its involvement in national crimes. This program serves as a springboard to discuss questions of historical responsibility, inspiring community members to develop an energetic, empathetic sense of citizenship.
Understanding Family Trauma: The Legacy of the Holocaust
During this difficult time, young people often struggle with anxiety, depression and other serious mental health issues. Many are unaware that their issues may be rooted in inherited, intergenerational trauma that can define the lives of family members for generations.
In this program, the author explores how her mother's Holocaust history shaped her life. Based upon the book, Motherland, the program explores the transmission of trauma in families. This program, in part a primer on trauma, offers understanding, insights, and ways to cope with this overwhelming, but common problem.
Edith’s Immigration Story
Watching the news is a harrowing experience for everyone these days. But for the author's 97-year-old mother, seeing Ukrainian families torn apart as parents dispatch their children to safety is worse than agonizing. It’s the story of her life.
Based upon the book, Is It Night or Day?, this program captures Edith's childhood immigration story as an unaccompanied minor, who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 all by herself. The book also explores her assimilation into American teenage culture.
How 8th graders Reunited Two Holocaust Refugees: A Model for Service Learning
It’s amazing what young people can do! This presentation features how students changed lives through community-service projects – from obtaining pensions for former Negro Baseball League players to changing the name of a park from remembering a slave holder to honoring a black leader.
In addition, this presentation showcases the book, Like Finding My Twin, which documents how middle school students reunited two Holocaust refugees who hadn't seen each other in 72 years. Moved by the story of the friendship of two 12-year-old refugees who were traveling alone and became inseparable on the ship to America in 1938 (as captured in the book Is It Night or Day?), the students designed a class project to locate and reunite the two old friends. The Oprah Winfrey Network did a half-hour show on this remarkable reunion, and this presentation includes a clip from the show.
Brothers, Sisters, Strangers: Sibling Estrangement and the Road to Reconciliation
In this presentation, the author tells the painful story of her forty-year estrangement from her only brother and chronicles their uneasy road to reconciliation. Along the way, she weaves in pertinent social science research and captures the voices and insights of others suffering from sibling alientation.
Nearly one-third of all siblings have a strained or estranged relationship. Fern will discuss the risk factors of estrangement, the stigma of the experience, and the larger consequences within the family.
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.
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.
Family Stories Workshop
Writing seminars for teachers
LENGTH OF PROGRAMS: 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.