• My name is Deb Bowen, a wife and mom (now a grandma too), from the cornfields of Illinois. My passion is inspiring kids 18 and younger to become leaders. 

  • There was a need for a local coordinator to work with foreign exchange students in rural areas where I live back in 1999. I answered the call and I now specialize in working with a scholarship program with students from developing countries who come on exchange. 

  • I created a writing project in 2003 called A BOOK by ME where students (American kids but some exchange students too) interview someone from the WWII generation.  

  • Conversations with heroes who lived through the Great Depression and an encounter with a Pearl Harbor survivor who was a homeless teen, was the inspiration behind Love Like Lorraine. People fill gently used purses with items women need and take them to homeless shelters, etc. Scouting groups, youth groups, 4H have done this and made a difference in their community.

  • It's been quite a journey and I've taken hundreds of children along with me. Check out our website and be inspired by the important work they've done.

Understanding Works includes intergenerational storytelling, a purse project providing items to women in need and a helping hand to students in developing countries. 


“When you walk in someone else’s shoes, when you hear their story, you gain a new perspective. 

This is why understanding works!”

Deb Bowen


Deb Bowen Exchange

Love Like Lorraine 

Send a set to your favorite school or library  anywhere in the USA. 

20 different books for $250. The unique books are written by children for children. 

You can help provide educational programming or other kinds of aid to students from developing countries. You can also host a student in your home.

Give used purses a new purpose! You can host a purse event in community. Fill gently used purses for women or draw string bags for men in need with items they can use.


Three different series: Heroes, Holocaust and Human Rights. Our books help kids understand social justice issues. The young readers gain compassion and understanding. The goal is to teach history while inspiring readers to better relate to people, gain empathy and take positive action in their community. Click here to see the amazing stories that have been told thus far.


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Supporting exchange students from developing countries who come to USA on a scholarship for ten months. Back home, youth assisted in digging a well for a village in Africa, distributing personal hygiene kits so girls can stay in school, teaching about female genital mutilation (FGM) and providing eyeglasses to those in need. We become world changers!

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Encourage students to "be the change" by filling a gently used purse with personal hygiene items for a woman in need. Draw string bags are filled for men. Recycled bags are given as a goodwill gesture to bring hope. A great project for any group - young or old! The book and purse movements were nominated for a Jefferson Award in 2019.


"I'm asking ordinary students to do something quite extraordinary."

Jewish Survivor Marion Blumenthal Lazan and

Deb Bowen talk about the A BOOK by ME vision

Attenton Young Authors: Please read the Writer's Guidelines under the A BOOK by ME tab.

You must watch these videos before you start a project