- Publisher: Second Story Press
- Page Count: 120 pages
- Dimensions: 7.5in x 0.4in x 9.0in
The Canadian Jewish News
When a suitcase bearing the name of Hana Brady arrives at a Holocaust education centre in Tokyo, curator Fumiko Ishioka becomes obsessed with discovering the story of the young orphan who once owned the suitcase. The resulting search for information about Hana, her life, and her family makes for gripping reading in this true story. Part detective story, part historical narrative, and part tribute to Hana and the other children whose lives were ended by the Nazis, this is a beautiful, sad, and deeply respectful book of determinations, healing and closure.
Although based on a true story, this book does come close to being a work of faction in which known facts about Hana and her life are interwoven with Klein’s imaginative description of Hana’s emotional life, concerns, and thoughts. Whatever category it fits into, it is certainly a moving read.
I found this book special. I enjoyed seeing the photos and pictures that Hana had drawn. To me Hana was a girl like any other except she was born into an era where being Jewish could change your life. Hana’s Suitcase is an emotional story about a young girl’s hopes, dreams and tragedies.
Townsville Bulletin General News
Magic stems from a true story. Some of the connections forged amidst the most seemingly chaotic and unconnected events make for sagas that only happen in real life. The story of Hana’s Suitcase is such a saga. Few story tellers could weave the tangled webs of Hana’s Suitcase and achieve a believable plot – yet this take, linking people of three continents during a period of 70 years, defies fairy tales – it is pure magic, albeit born of sheer, absolute evil.
Written in deceptively simple language, capable of pleasing children and adults, Hana’s Suitcase is an extraordinarily powerful book.
Levine writes at a walking pace and with a limited vocabulary, but the ups and down, the narrow timing of Ishioka’s search, give the story momentum and suspense. Brady’s more distant and general recollections of Hana enliven with anecdotes, provide a glimpse of a warm hearted, engaging girl whose innocent aspirations and pleasure underscore the unspeakable horror of Nazi crimes. Like the very best of museum exhibits, Hana’s Suitcases shows how facts and objects can be put together to honour its subject in a very personal and loving way. Highly recommended.
The Toronto Star
Hana’s story is empowering kids to believe they can change the future and that through their actions they can have a powerfully positive force in the world to make it a safer and happier place.
Part of the difficulty for today’s children reading about the Holocaust is that, for most of them, it was another place, another time, and therefore another world – remote and unreal. The other problem, of course, is that it is an overwhelmingly tragic story. However, this book deftly and imaginatively overcomes these difficulties. It brings the story into the present, it makes Hana’s world as familiar as our own, and it tells the uplifting story of how the details of her life were uncovered by a determined Japanese woman.
It is both achingly sad and joyful as this little girl tries her best to stay bright and happy in the midst of brutality. Hana’s Suitcase fits an incredible range of emotions into its 112 pages. Hana dreamed of becoming a teacher. This book shows that, finally, she did. Today, her story teaches children throughout Japan about the Holocaust and humanity.
Such a simple little book and yet so powerful. This true story will touch the hearts of young and old – and rather than be just unbearably sad it also opens a window of hope for out next generation – hope that all the cultures live in peace.
Fraser Coast Chronicle
Although it is suitable for a wide range of ages, it is particularly valuable for children who want to learn more about the Holocaust. Levine’s simple style of writing and then beautiful photos and reproductions of Hana’s drawings encourage readers to connect with Hana as a real human being rather than just another Holocaust statistic. In a way that would otherwise never have been possible, Hana has become the teacher she always dreamt of being.
The Holocaust is a difficult topic to discuss with children, but Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine is an excellent way for parents and teachers to introduce this tough subject to children age 10 and up. The book is to be shared and discussed-- readers will need to talk about the issues raised in the story. Hana's Suitcase reveals not only the story of Hana Brady's Short life and the life of her brother who survived, but it also shows the impact the suitcase has had on the children of Small Wings in Japan. The suitcase is being used in Japan to teach children tolerance, respect and compassion. The book does the same for readers in Canada.
Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Award – A Notable Book for Older Readers
British Columbia Library Association – Red Cedar Award (Non-fiction)
Canadian Children's Book Centre's Our Choice Annual, Starred Selection
Canadian Jewish Book Awards - Issac Frischwasser Memorial Award in Children’s Literature
Canadian Library Association "Book of the Year for Children"
Canadian National Institute of the Blind – Torgi Literary Award
Cooperative Children's Book Centre Choices
Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for Non-fiction
Governor General’s Awards – Children’s Literature, Text
Great Lakes Great Books Award
Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award (Non-fiction)
Information Book Award
IBBY-Canada Honour List
IRA Children’s Book Award, Notable Book Intermediate Non-fiction
IRA Notable Book for a Global Society
IRA Teachers’ Choices
Jewish Book Council Award
National Chapter Of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award
Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction – Honour Book
Ontario Library Association – Silver Birch Award (Non-fiction)
Ontario Library Association - Golden Oak Award
Parent’s Guide to Children’s Media Award
Quill & Quire Best Books of 2002
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award
Rocky Mountain Book Award: Alberta Children’s Choice
Skipping Stones Honor Award
UNICEF Paolo Ungari Literary Award
White Ravens Award, International Children's Digital Library
Yad Vashem Prize for Children's Holocaust Literature