Escaping the Horochów ghetto was just the beginning for twelve‑year‑old Musia Perlmutter. Alone, starving, freezing at times, and running and hiding for her life, Musia sought refuge in the forest for two years while Holocaust death camps loomed nearby. Child of the Forest is based on the true story and tribulations of Shulamit “Musia” Perlmutter, born in 1929 to Simcha and Fruma Perlmutter, and stands as a memorial to her extraordinary courage.

The story behind the story

When I committed to this project in 2006, I didn’t realize it would take twelve years to bring it to fruition. The journey was dotted with events such as the economic meltdown, a near-death stroke, and several other traumatic life experiences. I’m a believer in the saying that there is a reason for everything, and I believe that in the end, this book is the culmination of aligning the perfect people at the perfect time. Child of the Forest is based on the life story of a courageous young girl who bore witness to humanity’s darkest time. When I face challenges now, I simply think of Charlene, and it puts life back into perspective. I hope you enjoy reading Child of the Forest.

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What readers are saying

“She wanted humankind to eradicate ‘the four evil I’s’—ignorance, indifference, intolerance, and injustice. I hope this book will be a testament to her legacy and to her desire that the atrocities of the Holocaust, man’s inhumanity toward fellow man, will never be repeated or forgotten.”

— Stephen Schiff

After a childhood like this, the choice is revenge or love. Charlene chose love, especially for the impressionable and vulnerable. The message of her example is profound: if this child of the forest can open her heart, what is preventing the rest of us?”

— Rabbi Jack Moline

“Charlene Schiff’s early years were marked by fear, loss, trauma, and profound insecurity. As an adult, she worked tirelessly to share her personal history with audiences young and old, civilian and military, domestic and international, in an effort to warn others about the consequences of unchecked hate. No one can truly understand what she experienced, but her example of courage, perseverance, and love is something we all can take to heart. She was, and will remain, an inspiration.”

— Diane Saltzman

Director of Survivor Affairs, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

A MUST READ! — “An incredibly riveting true story of a young girl’s tenacity to survive. It’s a completely new perspective of the Holocaust and a must read for young adults and adults alike. We can all learn something from Charlene Perlmutter Schiff. I’m in awe ”

— Donna Fiore

NOT JUST A HOLOCAUST STORY — “‘Child of the Forest’ is a riveting true story based on the life of Charlene Perlmutter Schiff. I do hope the film project on this book comes out soon. I wouldn’t care if it was a 3 hour movie. You cannot imagine what she went through or how she survived. This is an important book, especially for this time. It is NOT just another Holocaust story. ”

— Avid Reader

THIS BOOK SHOOK ME TO THE CORE — “I, too, read this book in one sitting, was unable to put it down. It is by far the best Holocaust story I have ever read and reinforces the fact that the Holocaust took place outside the camps as well as within them. The survival of this one young girl is testament to her will to live, even against the odds she faced. To her they were not odds but were simply things in the way of her reuniting with her beloved mother. To say that her story is inspiring is to belittle it. It is a portrait of life itself and of overcoming seemingly impossible circumstances in order to survive. And yes, it reinforces the understanding that we should never forget”

— Howard Tuckey

SURVIVAL — “This book is probably one of the best ever written. Everyone needs to read it, to reflect, and to just get a glimpse of the lives of the ordinary people and how one little girl survived. The book is well written and I was unable to put it down, having read it in a single session. It is spellbinding to say the least. I give it more than the 5 stars; I would give it 100 stars.”

— Anne Kent

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