As I grew up, no story could ever compare what I heard around the dining room table and in the little park across the street from the school, told by people I thought of as my own family.

When I approached my artist, McLean Fletcher, about illustrating my poetry collection, she was intrigued by the beautiful brevity and simplicity of the poetry, as well as its authentic childlike voice. McLean is an artist, dancer, and actor working out of Washington, D.C, and has engaged in the arts since she was 3 years old. The poems resonated with her inner child, and, while creating the illustrations for “Resilience,” McLean imagined the young survivors themselves writing the poems and paintings as a way to cope with the immense hardships they faced. She has received a write up in the World Curators list of emerging contemporary artists. She is available to come in as well. In her art, she gave an interpretation that could be understood as well. Before she created the originals, she had no awareness of the Holocaust.

Each page next to each story, was left open for the reader to have the option to write, illustrate, or create their personal thoughts of the story. Parents and teachers have an opportunity to read them and detect any thoughts of isolation, bullying or unhappiness of the story.

The result is a collection of 37 (this number resulted from 2 times the number of 18, translated as Life in Hebrew plus 1 extra for the count to identify a new generation that resulted from all the 2 lives that survived) poems. These poems capture and evoke the innocence and inner strength of these children, surviving even as the Nazis sought to crush both their hope and their lives.

It is a good thing that I captured these stories when I did, though, because we are starting to forget.

Resilience a universal book has been taught in inner city schools, Jewish, Catholic and public schools. It can be found in the Washington DC Holocaust Museum, The Museum of Tolerance, Simon Wiensenthal Center, Jewish National Fund and Yad Vashem and the Amsterdam Jewish Muesuem.

It has been more than 70 years since the Holocaust and, one by one, we are losing our survivors to the march of time. This decade may well be the last where we will be able to hear their stories from their own lips. We are losing these wells of strength, wisdom, and humanity, and, already, we are making the mistake of following the past. But we have a choice: We can learn from it, instead.

The Resilience Project seeks to keep the stories of these incredible survivors alive by connecting the past and the present. Join me in fostering tolerance, kindness, and healing through art. Let’s create a world where the tragedy of the Holocaust can, truly, never happen again -- to anyone.

Cheryl's book now is being translated into three other languages for distribution in Germany and South America. She has been speaking at universities, schools and organizations to make young people aware of the history of hate for no reason, on unity, open mindedness and individual thinking.