Hanas Suitcase

Paperback | August 7, 2002

byKaren Levine

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In the spring of 2000, Fumiko Ishioka, the curator of a small Holocaust education centre for children in Tokyo, received a very special shipment for an exhibit she was planning. She had asked the curators at the Auschwitz museum if she could borrow some artifacts connected to the experience of children at the camp. Among the items she received was an empty suitcase. From the moment she saw it, Fumiko was captivated by the writing on the outside that identified its owner – Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, Waisenkind (the German word for orphan). Children visiting the centre were full of questions. Who was Hana Brady? Where did she come from? What was she like? How did Hana become an orphan? What happened to her? Fueled by the children’s curiosity and her own need to know, Fumiko began a year of detective work, scouring the world for clues to the story of Hana Brady. Writer Karen Levine follows Fumiko in her search through history, from present-day Japan, Europe and North America back to 1938 Czechoslovakia and the young Hana Brady, a fun-loving child with a passion for ice skating. Together with Fumiko, we learn of Hana’s loving parents and older brother, George, and discover how the family’s happy life in a small town was turned upside down by the invasion of the Nazis.

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From the Publisher

In the spring of 2000, Fumiko Ishioka, the curator of a small Holocaust education centre for children in Tokyo, received a very special shipment for an exhibit she was planning. She had asked the curators at the Auschwitz museum if she could borrow some artifacts connected to the experience of children at the camp. Among the items she ...

Karen Levine is a prizewinning producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio. Karen has won awards for her radio work, including two Peabody Awards - the Oscars of radio. She originally produced Hana’s Suitcase as a radio documentary before making it into a book. Though she travels widely to talk about the book, she m...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:120 pages, 9.02 × 7.5 × 0.36 inPublished:August 7, 2002Publisher:Second Story PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:189676455X

ISBN - 13:9781896764559

Appropriate for ages: 9

Customer Reviews of Hanas Suitcase


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! What an amazing story This is a book designed for children, but really it is for all of us. It is timeless. It’s tremendously touching and so sad. I loved the juxtaposition of the two stories told together.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unforgettable! I've read this book 2 times, and savored each sentence! It had two stories which were both being written at the same time at all different times in the book.; It is so meaningful, and one story shows how someone named Fumiko Ishioka (or something) was trying to find who the suitcase that she received belonged to. It was from the Holocaust. A the same time, it was telling the story of Hana in the Holocaust, the person that the suitcase originally belonged to. Legendary! If you have any questions. feel free to ask!!
Date published: 2015-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Life of Hanna Brady Very well written short story about a beautiful teacher, Hanna Brady.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Life of Hanna Brady Very well written short story about a beautiful teacher, Hanna Brady.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extremely moving story. Both my 11 year old daughter and I were moved to tears reading Hana's story.
Date published: 2014-01-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Extremely moving story. Just because this book is aimed at children, does not mean that certain facts need to be hidden and the book dumbed down for children to read. There are so many errors in this book, I am astounded that everyone is buying into all this crap. At no time is there any mention of the fact that Hana's REAL name was Hana Bradova. Brady is NOT a Czech name. It is an English name - specifically it is the name that Hana's brother George chose to use after he moved to Canada. So if the authors chose to use Hana Brady as her name throughout the book that's fine. BUT there should have been an accompanying statement saying that Hana's real name was Bradova and that the name of Brady was used to make things easier to understand (or to dumb down the readers). Also the documents shown were all clearly faked since no German (or Jew) would have ever claimed Hana and Georges name as being Brady during WW2. And yet there are 2 documents listed in the book, both with the name Brady. And then to top it all off - it turns out the suitcase is not even the REAL Hana's suitcase at all!!!! It is a fake suitcase. This fact was discovered by George's daughter. The real suitcase was destroyed in a fire in the UK in 1984. In 1997 when George and his daughter went to Auschwitz museum, they were given a photograph of Hana's suitcase. BUT that Photo has the name Hana Brady written on it. If George really had seen the suitcase back in 1942 when the children were sent to Theresienstadt camp, then he would have known that the real suitcase should have had the name Hana Bradova written on it. So why does George go along with all these lies? Then George's daughter Lara discovers that the suitcase that was sent to Japan, was NOT the same suitcase in the photo that George received in 1997. Since the real suitcase was destroyed n 1984, the Auschwitz museum have clearly created 2 fakes since then. The first fake was in the 1997 photo and the second fake was sent to japan in 2000. If there had been a statement at the front of this book stating why these changed were made, I would not be so up-in-arms about all this. But there is NO such statement - which means that these things are supposed to be hidden and not discovered. Now I do agre that Hana and her brother Geprge were sent to Theresienstadt camp, that George learned how to be a plumber and Hana drew some pictures. Except that these original pictures should have the name Hana Bradova written on them, not Hana Brady. I have no problems with George and Hana both being sent to Auschwitz in late 1944, and that george Survived and escaped on a death march in january 1945. I do however object to the statement that Hana was gassed on the day she arrived at Auschwitz. It is far more likely that she died of typhus or dysentery since with the poor food she had been eating in Theresienstadt for 2 whole years, she would have already been in poor health and a bout of dystentery or Typhus could easily have killed her. I give this 1 star for the story - but the lies means it wont get my approval.
Date published: 2013-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! This is a great story to teach the children about the holocaust and about how bad hitler was and about the the that happened in the holocaust I would recommend this book to sixth seventh and eighth graders. It is a great book and I enjoyed reading it I think you would like to read this amazing story.
Date published: 2013-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from seamless connection between then and now Youngsters ages 10-14 will enjoy the suspense that Levine builds as we follow Japanese curator Fumiko on her quest to find the owner of a Jewish child's suitcase entrusted to her Holocaust Museum for a children's exhibit. Levine weaves the mystery and intensity of Fumiko's modern-day search with touching, but not overly sentimental, stories from Hana's past from 1938-1944. We begin to care for Hana and her family, while simultaneously unravelling the clues that lead Fumiko into the past. Children will enjoy the simultanous stories, which are easy to follow. Teachers or parents will love to see their children watching Fumiko at work, bringing alive the real work of historians, and bringing little Hana's legacy to life. Inclusion of Hana's drawings made in the Terazin ghetto, as well as photographs of Hana and her family in Czechosolvakia, and photos of Fumiko and her children's group, give the book something extra special. Over 60,000 people have seen the museum exhibit that inspired the book, and I'm sure that it will be millions once this book is *truly* discovered!
Date published: 2009-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart wrenching i've alwasy had this intrest in the genocide and in grade 7 i bought, read and got the author to sgn it but unfortunately i lent it out and never got it back (learned that lesson teh hard way) anyways this book brought me to tears and really opened up this subject too me i reccomend it to anyone no matter what genre you read this is a must have favourite
Date published: 2009-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sadly Sweet! I just finished reading this story to my grade 5/6 class, and we all had water eyes! My class loved this book so much that I was begged to read it; we finished it together in one week! It promted my class to ask all kinds of questions, and it touched even the toughtest at heart!
Date published: 2006-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Story That Will Touch Everyone Hannas Suitcase is an amazing stroy that will touch everyone. George Brady and Fumiko Ishioka came to my school and they told us even more about Hannas tough life. This story wll teach you alot about history and help you to try and prevent wars from happening again.
Date published: 2005-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! This book is an excellant mix of history and imaginative story telling. This book is very sad and good at the same time. I loved reading about Hana! The realistic descriptions of Auschwitz and Therezin were so real and informative. Really good. Recommended to everyone. Absolutely wonderful. 5++++++++!!!!!! Read it!
Date published: 2005-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A MUST READ FOR ALL AGE GROUPS!! When I read this book (also in french) I was deeply touched. I could not imagine being that little girl. The courage that she had at such a young age was incredible. She obviously loved life and was disappointed to know that there was such cruel people in life. This book really made me more aware of what can happen when someone hates another at the most EXTREME level and made me more compassionate. A compelling book filled with love, pain, cruelty, anger and hate... A MUST READ!!!!!!!
Date published: 2005-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hana's Suitcase a Touching Story This book is one of the best books I have ever read I think it a great book for people interested in wars it also gives you a good idea of what this girl has gone through and other people who have had this happen to them in wars. I don't really want to give the story of the book away so if you want to find out then I guess you will have to read it! This is also a great book for book reports that's what I used it for!
Date published: 2004-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read An incredible book - that makes the plight of this child (and all children that were effected by the holocaust) come to life. Literally creates empathy in children that read it! A must read for young and old. The new Anne Frank's Diary ...
Date published: 2004-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Book (VERY INTERESTING) This book is amazing I don't want to tell you that much about it but this book makes me want to go to Taiwan to see Hana's suitcase!!
Date published: 2003-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from hana's suitcase This is a really good story it's a real story that I liked very much because it's the life of a child that live's in the first war, it is a really sad but good story
Date published: 2003-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from look foward to a great read i have not yet had the pleasure of reading Hana's Suitcase, but I have recently purchased it because i was intrigued by the Canada AM's interview on April 24, 2002 with Hana's brother and the Japanese Curator. It touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for this story, I will write back when I have finished the book. Best Regards, shar
Date published: 2002-04-26

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

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. - Launceston Examiner - 20030802