“I would have loved to have had a copy of Suitcase Full of Dreams to use as a teaching resource. While we studied Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, John Steinbeck, Anne Frank’s diary, and various contemporary and classic women writers, Hoy’s story would have added dimension and raw truth to the enduring issues and themes these other great writers explored. I was moved to tears and to laughter by this book. Hoy’s clear voice and conversational style speaks to me of poverty, oppression, racism, religion, the transformative powers of education, and most of all, love. Her language is poetic; she paints beautiful, detailed pictures with her words, and brings to life engaging characters and experiences that haunt me even now.” — Denise Lowe Thorngate, teacher of English and Drama
“This well-written book starts with Hoy Kersh sharing her first memory of fear as her family whisks her off to another state, running for their lives from Klan members who have sworn to kill them. Ms. Kersh then tells the story of her early life: anecdotes about friends and family, the prejudices she faced, and the events that shaped her beliefs. This is a woman who lived through a tumultuous period in our nation’s history, and put her painful childhood memories on paper for the world. Her book should be required reading for high school and college students.” — Luann Morgan, "Reading Frenzy"
“After reading Suitcase Full of Dreams, I found myself at a loss for words, unable to describe the emotions—joy, anger, frustration, loss, and loving care—that were moving through me. I read Hoy’s life story late into the night and in stolen moments throughout the day, and have emerged with an understanding that I would not have thought possible. This is an important and moving read on many levels.” — Stephen Quiggle, M.A., Counseling Psychologist
“Suitcase Full of Dreams is an interesting and entertaining memoir. In her unique writing style, Hoy Kersh tells of a life of poverty, abuse at home, segregation, and killings by the KKK. Anyone who wants to know what life was like for poor blacks in the South before the Civil Rights Movement will enjoy reading this memoir.” — "Different Time, Different Place" Book Reviews
“Hoy Kersh tells her stories with the flourish of a poet. Despite the poverty and injustice she and her family and friends endured, she was a child who could not be pushed down, and reveled in the simple glories of nature. The bravery of the civil rights leaders inspired her, and the call of the northern states pulled her, at age sixteen, onto a train for Chicago. There the book ends, waiting for part 2 to be written.” — Linda Austin, author of "Cherry Blossoms in Twilight"
“Kersh’s story of her turbulent childhood in the Jim Crow South is one filled with hope and upheaval. Her grandfather was murdered when Kersh was three years old. On the night of the slaying, the Ku Klux Klan appeared at the family’s home and drove them out of town. Over the course of this memoir, Kersh grows up poor, black, and female as her mother grows more depressed and restrictive, her loving father cheats, and her grandmother runs a clandestine gambling house. Despite many hardships, life isn’t all bad for Kersh: she takes solace in the natural world, the music that surrounds her, and books. Kersh should be lauded for her determination to escape despite all the obstacles in her way. Personal in scope, but poignant and accessible all the same.” — Kirkus Indie