I have been traveling to Connecticut a lot. I don’t mind. All the hubbub around Tutti’s Promise gives me an excuse to visit my parents. When people ask me about driving down to Southern New England I say my parents like it when I visit – but the truth is I like the visits too.
One event I was unable to attend recently was the University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies awards evening. I was actually given another vote of confidence on May 7th. I would have liked to be there, but it wasn’t possible.
This year has been an amazing year for Tutti’s Promise and awards. I have to admit that I have been surprised and thrilled. I started this whole project reluctantly. I wasn’t sure I could write a book that was good enough to share. I didn’t have a writing background. I had avoided history classes. And I was way out of my comfort zone.
Nevertheless, I persevered. I applied my liberal arts education. I took community college classes. I went to workshops. And I was willing to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.
Tutti’s Promise has been a hit. Two silver Benjamin Franklin Awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association, a Silver Nautilus Book Award, designation as a Notable Social Studies Book, and now the 2018 Joseph Zola Memorial Professional Development Award.
This last award is for my newest project — Tutti’s Promise: Lesson Plans
Tutti’s Promise was written with teachers and students in mind. It tells the true story about a child who survived the Holocaust. When students read the book they relate to the protagonist and feel empathy for people who are persecuted for no other reason than accident of birth. This project will help make Tutti’s Promise an even more useful classroom addition to both middle schools and high schools around the country.
While my website contains a plethora of information, one very important page remains blank. This is where I plan to provide lesson plans to be used with the book. I envision this page full of materials that show how to integrate Tutti’s Promise with anti-bullying, English, and history curricula. Ten states now require Holocaust and genocide education — with Connecticut being the latest. I want to congratulate the folks in my home state who worked so hard to pass this legislation. There are groups in more states that are advocating to include these topics in their state education standards as well.
Teachers — you have told me you love the book. You tell me your students love the book. Now I’m asking for your help. It is your turn to make a valuable contribution to Holocaust education. I invite you to send me your ideas and lesson plans. How did you use Tutti’s Promise with your class? What discussions were most valuable? Did you organize any projects around the text? I have confidence in you that together we can build a website to help other teachers with this important and difficult topic, and through these lessons, teach young people resilience, acceptance, and how to make their worlds more peaceful places in the future.