Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Fran Schumer  

Pen Name: Fern Schumer Chapman

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Fern was born in Chicago and currently resides in Lake Bluff.

Biographical and Professional Information

Fern is an author and accomplished journalist and former reporter for the Chicago Tribune and Forbes, whose work also has appeared in ''The Forward'', ''The Washington Post'', ''U.S. News & World Report'', ''Fortune'', ''USA Today'' and ''The Wall Street Journal''. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Communications, with a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, she has taught magazine writing and other seminars at both Northwestern and Lake Forest College.Fern's first book is titled: ''Motherland: Beyond the Holocaust: A Mother-Daughter Journey to Reclaim the Past''. Motherland is the compelling true story of Edith Schumer, orphaned by the Nazis, and her return 52 years later to Germany with daughter Fern, who knew almost nothing of her mother's past. ''Motherland'' was named a Barnes & Noble ''Discover New Great Writers'' title, recommended by ''Book Sense 76'' and a finalist for the ''National Jewish Book Awards''. Hallmark Entertainment has optioned film rights and the book was featured on the June 2, 2000 Oprah Winfrey Show.In 2004, the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named Ms. Chapman, Illinois Author of the Year. Fern was honored at the 2005 Illinois Authors Book Fair presented by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.'''Prestigious honor, positive reviews for Is It Night or Day?'''February 22, 2010 Weeks before release, Fern Schumer Chapman’s new novel Is It Night or Day? has received a prestigious honor, a starred review, and exciting notice.The Junior Library Guild (JLG), a literary review and selection service for children’s and young-adult books serving more than 17,000 school and public librarians nationwide, has selected Is It Night or Day? as a featured title for the spring 2010 season.In addition, the book has received a starred review in the American Library Association's influential magazine, Booklist. In the February 1, 2010 issue, Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman calls the narrator's voice ''powerful and eloquent,'' adding that, ''as with the best writing, the specifics about life as a young immigrant are universal.'' Kirkus calls the book ''moving,'' adding that ''this empathetic historical novel rings with authenticity.'' Publishers Weekly calls the book ''well worth reading,'' and acclaims the book for its ''honesty.''Recognition from the Junior Library Guild comes after editors choose just 180 titles from more than 3,000 submissions. Selected before publication, these noteworthy titles typically go on to gain other honors and to appear on critics' and librarians' award lists.Is It Night or Day? tells the story of a 12-year-old girl (the author's mother) who escapes certain death at the hands of the Nazis by traveling alone to a new life in a foreign country. Young Edith's bewildered efforts to assimilate in America are as poignant as her struggle against constant feelings of abandonment and isolation. Through the prism of one girl's story, readers experience urgent themes that resonate with today's headlines: families torn and children threatened by immigration issues, war, natural disasters, and the daunting work necessary to rebuild a life in the face of unspeakable loss. A prequel to Chapman's first book, Motherland, the new book explores the little known One Thousand Children project which rescued some 1,200 youngsters from the Holocaust. Both haunting and inspiring, Is It Night or Day? is a rich and rewarding work of historical fiction accessible to readers of any age.To learn more about Is It Night or Day? please visit []. To schedule an interview with the author, please call Bruce Wasser at 510-468-7815

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- ''Motherland'' was named: -- *a Barnes & Noble Discover New Great Writers title

-- *recommended by Book Sense 76

-- *finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards

-- *selected as one of 25 must-reads for the 2008 Illinois' ''Read for Lifetime'' program

-- ''Illinois Author of the Year'' by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English in 2004 -- Fern was honored at the 2005 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.