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

"What a day!  Don't think I will ever forget it.  What a privilege to hear your story!"

Kathy Spedale
Library Media Specialist
Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School
Oak Lawn, IL


"Our eighth graders were enthralled by Fern's (and Edith's) presentation.  Their excitement was so infectious that even students who didn't see Fern have been in the LMC, asking for more books.  It's not easy to connect with eighth graders, but seeing Edith's journey and reflecting on their own or their parents' or their friends' refugee journeys left us with a group of much more thoughtful teens after the presentation. Our special education students in particular were able to understand and empathize as they used Fern's books to learn about the Holocaust.  I highly recommend Fern Schumer Chapman's books and her presentations to schools and libraries looking to think hard about refugees, the Holocaust, and what it means to respect and welcome all people"

Kate Wolicki, Library Director, Glenside Middle School, Glendale Heights, IL



"Our students were absolutely mesmerized."

Marci Kulbak
Library Media Specialist
Elm Place School
Highland Park, IL

"Your presentation made a significant part of history come to life for our students. Integrating a story about survival within a motivational presentation definitely challenged our students to examine their own lives and find strength when overcoming obstacles."

Mallory Smith
Library Media Specialist
Lake BLuff Middle School
Lake Bluff, IL

"I cannot find the words to eloquently thank you for the meaningful presentations and the personal visits we were able to have... Know that you made a difference in the lives of many people and the life of a community...My superintendent stopped by and told me he had attended a Waseca Chamber of Commerce meeting and heard from people what a wonderful presentation you made."

David Oraskovich
English Teacher and organizer of All-School Reads Program
Waseca Junior High School
Waseca, MN

"Thanks so much for coming to Texas today and sharing with our students. I had students rushing to the library to get a copy of your book after you spoke! Please tell your mother 'thank you,' for her willingness to share her story with you, and thank YOU for your dedication to passing her story along to the next generation. It is a timeless, needful tale."

Deanne Hare
Tarkington Middle School
Cleveland, TX

"The kids are still talking about how much they enjoyed your presentation. It was a thrill for them (and us!) to hear your talk and meet you."

Eileen Sejkora
Norton Middle School
Norton, MA

"We, the adults and students, were 'deeply touched' by Edith's story. Parents have 'taken' your books from their children and now they are reading Edith's story. And the story goes on and on...we must stop hate!"

Anna Mae Veach
Hardin ISD Librarian Coodinator
Hardin, TX

"Thank you for wonderful presentation you gave our junior high. They are still talking about it."

Maureen Kelly
St. Valentine Catholic School
Redmond, MI

"Thank you for telling the two stories that frame your life - your mother's departure from Germany and the void that her experience left you. Thank you for relating the return to Germany with its multifaceted nuances. Thank you for bringing your mother's tea set and projecting us back to the past... As we move away from the period that framed the Holocaust, new carriers must tell the stories of their family and friends so that the next generation will know and learn. You are the next generation. From you, we will know and grow."

Rachel Koch, Program Associate
Phredd Matthewswall, Assistant National Director for Staff Development
Chuck Meyers, Senior Program Associate
Facing History and Ourselves
Chicago, Illinois

"I deeply appreciated your presentation. It seemed to me perfect."

James Olney
Henry J. Voorhies Professor of English
Co-Editor, Southern Review, Louisiana State University
Organizer of the Conference on Memory and Narrative
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

"The feedback from your lecture has been outstanding! I continue to receive phone calls and positive comments even now."

Margaret Plaskas
Arts and Ideas Program Coordinator
Waubonsee College
Sugar Loaf, Illinois

"Ragdale has sponsored many readings over the years and I am happy to say that yours is a standout... Thank you for such a magical morning. May there be many more."

Sylvia Brown
Director of Marketing and Programming
The Ragdale Foundation
Lake Forest, Illinois

"The response to your talk was rapt silence, the audience hanging on every word. I even saw several people wiping a tear as they listened to your story of dislocation, discovery and reclamation."

Judy Levin,
Congregation B'nai Tikvah
Deerfield, Illinois

"Your story touches on many levels - as a journey for truth and understanding and as an exploration of mother-daughter issues. We are honored to have you with us and to share your thoughts with us."

Madonna Lee Edmunds
Woodlands Academy (Catholic high school for girls)
Lake Forest, Illinois

"People are still talking about how much they enjoyed your speech... Motherland touched my life in a deeply profound way and I thank you for finding the courage within to share your family story."

Barbara Pinny
The Haverford School (high school for boys)
Haverford, Pennsylvania

"We all entered the experiences you describe more deeply and with greater understanding as a result of your talk."

Barbara Monsor
The Mother's Trust
Lake Forest, Illinois

"You were fabulous! Everyone loved meeting you and listening to your story. Your slides were great, but most of all your earnestness and sincerity shine through."

Ellen Gussin
National Council for Jewish Women
North Shore Chapter
Highland Park, Illinois

"I have received nothing but rave reviews from those attending your program. Everyone was captivated by the book."

Shari Lipp-Levine
Special Projects Coordinator
Congregation Beth-El Zedeck
Indianapolis, Indiana


"I placed four boxes of tissues in the room. After three presentations, they were all empty. Afterwards, students asked if Fern could come back to our school next year."

Semadar Siegel, Teacher, Evanston Township High School, Evanston, 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 Schools, Cicero, Illinois