What People Are Saying:
“A personal story of the triumph of the human spirit and the universal quest for peace, Joanie Holzer Schirm’s My Dear Boy takes us on a journey around much of the world, traversing history as well as geography. It is a timeless and moving World War II story told by the author through the words of her refugee father.”
—Nina Streich, executive director, Global Peace Collaborative
“Educators will find no better book than My Dear Boy to provide the sweeping context of pre- and World War II multi-continental events during the late 1930s and early 1940s.”
—William "Bill" Younglove, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Fellow
“This stunning tribute to Schirm’s father’s legacy of service reminds us that our examination of the human heart as individual characters should lead us to protect the dignity of all others, no matter the friction of our differences.”
—Buddy Dyer, mayor of Orlando
“Schirm’s power as a writer lies in her gift of crystalline focus. Her family story is one of grace in the face of universal struggle: full of awe, dappled synchronicities, and complicated life ‘happenings’ that touch one’s core. It is a gift for the next generation and the next.”
—Pat Williams, senior vice president of the Orlando Magic and author of Coach Wooden’s Forgotten Teams
Winning Author 2013 Global Ebook Award: Best Biography and Book Trailer
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Florida Department of Education 2015 Recommended Reading for Grades 9-12
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Extraordinary World War II Stories of Survival, Escape, and ConnectionBased on her father’s collection of 400 old letters, Joanie Schirm's book series is the deeply personal account of a daughter’s investigative journey some 70 years later to locate the Czech correspondents and their descendants around the world. “My father never mentioned that upon his death he planned to leave a magnificent gift,” Schirm tells us, a “treasure trove” in which “I would come across the very souls of his cousins and friends. Many of the secrets were ghastly. Lives lost, lives shattered. Friends abandoned. Lovers betrayed. The paths I followed beyond the letters made clear that guilt and grief continued to wound and sometimes cripple those who remained, long after the war was over.” And yet the story that they ultimately add up to – as emotionally absorbing as a novel, as meticulously documented as the important work of history – is not one of mere survival but of triumph. Beautifully rendered and profoundly moving, Joanie Schirm's book series is a gift for us all.
Praise for Adventurers Against Their Will
“Adventurers Against Their Will is a powerful wartime story revolving around true historical events. Based on scrupulous research, Joanie Schirm has dug deep into her own family history and beyond to recreate the lost world of Jewish culture in interwar Czechoslovakia and the horrors that followed during the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia. An emotionally powerful book for anyone interested in the vanished universe of early twentieth-century Central Europe and the war that destroyed it.”Robert Gerwarth, author of Hitler’s Hangman: The Life and Death of Reinhard Heydrich
About the Author - Winner:Best Biography 2013 Global Ebook Awards
During her childhood on an idyllic barrier island on the Space Coast of Florida, Joanie Holzer Schirm first heard many of the stories detailed in her books through the colorful tales of her father. She knew she wanted to write these stories down one day, but had no idea that fifty years later, her powerful debut book, Adventurers Against Their Will, would win the 2013 Global Ebook Awards for Biography. The moral to this story: You are never too old to accomplish your dreams. > In addition to writing books and articles, Joanie Schirm is a photographer, world traveler, community activist, sought-after public speaker, and former Orlando, Florida award-winning businesswoman. She is internationally known for her leadership role in Orlando’s hosting of FIFA’s World Cup USA 1994. The mother of two children, Kelly and Derick, she lives in Orlando with her husband, Roger Neiswender.