Bella from Azerbaijan, a FLEX scholarship recipient, was an exchange student at Davenport Central High School in Iowa during the 2010-2011 school year. While in the United States, Bella learned more about the Holocaust by visiting the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Illinois with her Area Representative (Deb Bowen). A Muslim girl, Bella was touched when she learned many Muslims in Albania helped Jewish friends and neighbors escape the Nazis. In doing so, they risked their own lives, thus earning the title "Righteous Gentiles". She choose one of those stories about Albania and wrote a story through the eyes of the two young grandsons of the Righteous man who defied the Nazis. A gifted artist, her friend from Central, Sarah Walker, illustrated the book. Today, Bella is back in her home country working with American Councils as a successful alumni of the scholarship. She is excited to share her experience with A BOOK by ME and will be helping the program find other young authors in her part of the world. Congratulations on your success Bella! Coming Soon: Someone To Help the story of Esheref and Easuere Shpuza (Muslim Righteous Page Gentiles) by Bella of Azerbaijan
Barbara is from Cologne, Germany and was an exchange student to Rock Island High School in 2007-2008 school year. While in America, Barbara won a writer's contest initiated by the Midwest Writing Center. In addition, she met and heard Jewish survivor Eva Schloss (stepdaughter to Otto Frank) speak. This event, along with many other experiences, were life changing for Barbara and she decided to become a young author with A BOOK by ME. Her choice of a subject is Irena Sendler, who risked her life to save Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. Barbara identified with Irena for many reasons but especially because she was a Catholic woman who believed every life has great value. Ms. Scholzen was both author and illustrator on her book project and she did a fabulous job! Today Barbara is in college in Germany and has started on a second book about Irena Sendler. Her second effort will be a chapter book for young readers. A BOOK by ME has inspired Barbara to use her writing gifts for the benefit of young readers.