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

“Using the resources associated with My Dear Boy and Adventurers Against Their Will helped to further humanize the story of the Holocaust with my students. I greatly appreciated how well it tied into the existing resources I use with my students, such as Echoes & Reflections. The stories and letters complimented many of the testimonies I had already used in class, most of which are now part of the study guide created for the resources. My students especially appreciated the "normalcy" of the exchanges. One letter to Valdik speaks of the palm trees of Southern California, a student asked me – well, how did he know about them? That sparked a great discussion! It was also valuable to show students the primary mode of communication during this time period, which is so different than what we have today.”
Jennifer L. Goss, M.A., N.B.C.T, Social Studies Teacher at Staunton High School (V.A.), Echoes & Reflections Facilitator, U.S.H.M.M. Teacher Fellow ’10

“I use the packet of selected letters from Adventurers Against Their Will with students alongside the U.S.H.M.M. activity "Why Didn’t They Just Leave?" Students look at the requirements to leave Nazi Germany and the requirements to get into the U.S. at the time. Then, they read the letters in the packet and see how Valdik and his friends dealt with this in their emigrations. By the end of the activity, students no longer ask why the Jews didn’t just leave because they see how difficult it was to do so, and see the outcomes for those who are able to. We also utilize visual history testimonies from Echoes & Reflections, such as Esther Clifford, allowing students to hear the voices of survivors who tried to get out of Germany. After learning more about Valdik’s story, students look at letters from his parents, from My Dear Boy, and discuss the few choices available to those who were unable to escape. Students are able to experience the power of the written word and of letter writing, and really feel they get to know the "characters" they are reading from.”
Kimberly Klett, English and Holocaust Studies Teacher at Dobson High School, Mesa, AZEchoes & Reflections Trainer, USHMM Museum Teacher Fellow (’03)

“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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