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Understanding Works combines a book project, a purse outreach and exchange students from developing countries stories to teach empathy to students. A BOOK by ME teaches history from the perspective of various subjects so authors, illustrators and their readers learn about compassion. Love Like Lorraine asks students to take action by filling gently used purses with things women need to give to people in need. The problems people face in developing countries are far greater than problems of most Americans. Overall lesson for these projects is the basic truth that "Understanding Works" when we take time to listen with our ears and our hearts.

Team A BOOK by ME


Cassie Bowen Holler

Curriculum Development

Cassie wrote and illustrated a book while in high school and began working on developing curriculum for books when she was in college. Today Cassie works as administrative team at Key School in Fort Worth, Texas where students are valued individuals with unique social, emotional and intellectual needs.Thanks to great educational leaders from the Quad Cities who help her edit curriculum. 

Jeanie Bowen

Project Manager

Jeanie manages all the book projects and helps with the purse projects and the exchange student projects as well. She is the right hand of Understanding Works and all the projects we choose.

She's inspired by her greatest hero, her father Dale Bowen, a WWII veteran. He was a great American hero like the ones in our storybooks.

Deb Bowen


Deb created the book project under the covering of the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities. She is now challenging kids to do additional service projects. She is blessed to have this amazing support team and a wonderful and talented board of directors. She is surrounded by people who care very deeply about education and the needs of children. 

Deb Bowen


Founder of A BOOK by ME, Deb Bowen asks children to hear the WWII generation firsthand and write their stories for the next generation so the lessons won't be lost.


It started over a decade ago when she asked students to write the stories of three Jewish women she befriended ― each named Esther.

Today she has kids choose to write for her Holocaust, Human Rights or Heroes series. These social justice books teaches young readers compassion and understanding. The student's finished work becomes anti-bullying curriculum. 

The goal is to inspire readers to better relate to people and gain empathy. Then take positive action in their community. If ideas are needed, Deb has a plan for that too ...

Because the WWII generation's stories helped her understand her own mother better, Deb founded Love Like Lorraine. Lorraine Brunson Powell was always helping someone, either a woman in crises coming to her for advise or a stranger on the street. Lorraine knew about real need because her mother was divorced during the Great Depression.


Today, these purses have great purpose when filled with personal hygiene items for a woman in need. Recycled purses given as a goodwill gesture to bring hope. You can watch the WQAD Jefferson Award video clip below to learn more about it.

​Deb Bowen:

  • Serves on Holocaust Education Committee of the Quad Cities and Yom Hashoah Committee.

  • Member of Daughters of American Revolution (DAR), Rebecca Parke Chapter

  • Recipient of Hope for Humanity Award, Augustana College in April 2015

  • Speaker at Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) in October 2015

  • Speaker at Children of American Revolution (CAR) at Illinois State Convention in February of 2016

  • Speaker at State Social Studies Institute in Des Moines Iowa in June of 2016

  • Nominated for a Jefferson Award Spring 2019

  • Presenting at Teacher's Conference ISTE20 (Reinventing Education Together) in Anaheim, California 

      in Fall 2020

Click Logo for News Story

Jefferson Award.png

Thank you News 8

WQAD for the Jefferson Award nomination. 

Note: The video below shows books with Iowa connections. There are stories written in many others states but mostly Iowa and Illinois where project started. Goal is to have books written in all 50 states.

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