Historic Heroines announced today that it received a grant in the amount of $3000 from Dear Esther Foundation to create a Classroom Edition to Children’s Letters to a Holocaust Survivor and launch its “Never Forget Esther” Tolerance and Anti-Bullying Program in three schools in 2017.
“It is our hope that this book will be a valuable resource in supporting and extending History, Literature, Drama, and ESOL curricula. The book is also an excellent resource for Tolerance and Anti-Bullying programs. In sharing her story, Esther Raab’s goal was to spread love and empathy and to fight hatred and bigotry,” said Executive Director Kristen LePine. The goal of the “Classroom Edition” is not only to share with you the letters and the play, Dear Esther, but also to offer educators a ways to use the material to achieve your specific educational goals. The new Classroom Edition with be divided into three sections: Children’s Letters; Dear Esther, the play; and Classroom Activities.
The Children’s Letters section will contain a curated collection of actual letters, poems, and drawings penned by middle school and high school students in response to seeing the movie Escape from Sobibor, based on Esther’s experiences; witnessing a live performance of the play Dear Esther; and/or listening to Esther Terner Raab speak at schools about her experiences during and after her imprisonment in Sobibor, a Nazi death camp in eastern Poland.
The Dear Esther section will contain the two-act play Dear Esther was written by Richard Rashke in collaboration with Esther Raab, whom he interviewed extensively for his book Escape from Sobibor. The book was made into a movie of the same title. Although the letters can be read alone, we believe they will be better understood and appreciated if students also read the play and see the movie. Information on how to receive a free DVD of the movie is located at the end of this book under “Supplemental.”
The Classroom Activities section will contain suggested exercises and activities designed for classroom use to develop understanding and enhance learning. These suggested activities are flexible and can be modified to meet individual learning goals. They can also be adjusted to the grade and age of the students. The activities and exercises will not be presented as lesson plans, but as frameworks for managing and developing an understanding of complex ideas. They also provide opportunities for students to identify and respond to the material, both individually and collaboratively.