The lessons of the Holocaust should never be forgotten. When I set out to write my grandmother’s story, it was with the intention of teaching future generations a message of tolerance and empathy for others. In today's climate, this message resonates more than ever.
I am honored to be part of the Speaker’s Bureau and Interpreter Program at the Holocaust and Humanity Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. One of the major themes the Center promotes is being an "Upstander," . . . someone who speaks out against bullying and injustice. Through my work with the museum, and utilizing examples from What She Lost, I explore this subject with students, as well as speak about my own family's experience and how we can learn from the past. I am also a select member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program in Mason City Schools.
I am happy to use What She Lost as a tool to speak to individual classes, schools, libraries, or any other venue. I am able to tailor my presentation to fit your needs, and am happy to speak about the writing process as well. If you are an educator and are interested in arranging an appearance, please fill out the neighboring form and I will respond shortly.
Suggested reading level: 8th and up
Downloadable Teacher's Guide below (updated Lesson Plan with activities coming soon)
Writing prompts and critical thinking exercises available
Ideal for history, social studies, language arts, current events, and creative writing curriculums
Multiple Perspective Student Report
"Hi Melissa, I wanted to drop a quick note to say that my students who read What She Lost LOVED it. One student said she loved it so much that she wants to read more books like it." - Beth LeBlanc, Freshman English, Sycamore High School, Cincinnati, Ohio
"Melissa, I am so grateful for the time you spent sharing your grandmother's story with us. It was a day that I - and many of the students - will never forget! Your presence in front of the classroom was so natural and poised . . . Very impressive!" -Katie Lin, 8th Grade English, Mason Middle School, Mason, Ohio
"It was an absolute delight and pleasure to have you share your writing journey and your family's courageous story with our 8th-grade classes. Your presentation was so powerful and engaging. Many students said it was the best class all semester." -Lisa Speiller, 8th Grade English, Mason Middle School, Mason, Ohio
Zoom Presentation to online "CyberComets" 8th-graders, Mason City Schools, May 2021
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NANCY AND DAVID WOLF HOLOCAUST AND HUMANITY CENTER
WHAT SHE LOST
by the Director of Education & Engagement
Understanding the lessons of the Holocaust is more important now than ever before. For that reason, I am proud to partner with the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust and Humanity Center in Cincinnati to further Holocaust education and promote their message of tolerance and being an Upstander. As a part of their Speaker Series, I often share the life story of my grandmother, Sala Werthaiser, a local survivor and the inspiration for What She Lost. As part of their Speakers Bureau, I speak directly to students, using the novel as a tool to connect to a younger audience and illustrate the importance of learning from history so that it doesn't repeat itself. As a museum Interpreter, I help lead tours in the museum itself to audiences of all ages. This past year, I recorded a virtual tour that focuses on my grandmother's story for educators to access and use in their classrooms. I invite you to learn more about these endeavors through the links below.
If you'd like to reserve me to speak to your students as part of the Speaker's Bureau, please use the museum's website (link included) and they will be in touch with me.
"As a grandmother myself, I'm sure your grandma is so proud of you and happy that you honored her in such a way. Thank you for sharing her story. She was an amazingly strong woman." - Stephanie B
"You've provided really outstanding 'before and after' photographs, archival photos and maps." - B Kros
"Fascinating presentation, Melissa! Very well done. Thank you. Good luck with your book!" - Karina Calabro