From "The Perfect" Family by Fern Kepke
From "The Perfect" Family by Fern Kepke

New books by Bay Area authors, Feb. 2018

Speaking in bookstores, synagogues and wellness centers, Irit Schaffer shares her message of resilience in the face of adversity — recounted in her autobiographical book, “Good Blood: A Journey of Healing.”

Born in Israel and raised in Canada, Schaffer believes the lifelong lessons she learned from her Holocaust-survivor parents have given her strength and a unique perspective on the mind-body-spirit connection.

From the time she was a child, she never tired of her father’s wartime stories (like the time he had bullets removed from his body without pain medication). Yet it took her mother 50 years before opening up to Schaffer about her Holocaust travails.

“My parents’ stories of survival had an impact on everything in my life,” writes Schaffer, a physical therapist in San Francisco.

From his childhood in Berlin to his years in Shanghai — where he and his family lived during the Hitler era — to his new life in America, Ernest Glaser attests he’s had “A Life Well Lived.” That’s what the 90-something Walnut Creek resident titled his recently published memoir, which “was written with my children and grandchildren in mind: to provide a basis for reflection and on which they might build their own lives,” Glaser explains in the postscript.

Once established in the U.S., Glaser became head of the Avoset Food Corp., married and raised a family, eventually settling in the East Bay.

Retired Novato schoolteacher Fern Kepke certainly knows kids, having taught kindergarten for 30 years. But after her beloved dog Kirby died, she needed a way to channel her sadness into something positive. Combining her passion for storytelling and dogs, Kepke wrote “The Perfect Family,” a children’s book about a little girl and her dog, Paisley.

What makes a family? Gearing her book for ages 6 to 9, Kepke answers that question simply and sweetly. Illustrator Laurie Barrows’ colorful drawings enhance the narrative.

Liz Harris

Liz Harris is a J. contributor. She was J.'s culture editor from 2012-2018.