on February 15, 2004
Aimed at a pre-teen, early-teen audience, Hana's Suitcase appeals to all ages. I read the book with my 11 year old over a few nights: he was riveted by the story in a way I've rarely seen. Other parents report similar reactions. The book is illustrated with many poignant family photos and original documents. Hana's Suitcase will greatly advance your child's undertsanding of the Holocaust and of humanity's capacity for both great evil and tremendous compassion. I've recommended the book successfuly to many others; my son's class will soon study it. Be forewarned, especially if you are a parent: you may find the final chapters impossible to read without losing your composure. It is a story of unbearable loss and ultimate healing. The book follows an original radio documentary, which can be heard at the website of CBC Radio.
on February 8, 2010
I was in tears many times while reading this book. As others have already said, it is the true story of Hana and George Brady, and their experience as Czech Jews during the Holocaust. It is also the story of Fumiko Ishioka, the director of the Holocaust Education Resource Centre in downtown Tokyo, Japan; and her determination to find out who Hana Brady was, and the story behind Hana's battered brown suitcase, which was sent to Fumiko from Auschwitz after she contacted Holocaust museums around the world, asking for artifacts that she could display and use to teach Japanese children about the Holocaust (the suitcase sent to Fumiko from Auschwitz was in fact a copy - Hana's original suitcase, along with hundreds of other suitcases belonging to concentration camp victims, was unfortunately destroyed in a suspicious nighttime warehouse fire in 1984 in England, during a Holocaust exhibition).
The book is very well-written, and alternates chapters between Czechoslovakia in the 1930s and early 1940s, Tokyo in the year 2000 - early 2001, and Toronto in the year 2000 - early 2001. Sprinkled liberally throughout the book are many photographs, mostly of Hana and George Brady and their family before the war, but also of Fumiko and the group of Japanese children from her Centre that call themselves Small Wings.
Having read the book, I looked online for further information, and found a beautiful website run by the Brady family, devoted to the story of Hana and her suitcase: [...] .
There is a wonderful interactive component to the website (click down in the lower right-hand corner on 'Visit Hana's Online Experience') whereby one can experience nearly first-hand what it was like to be Hana and George Brady - old photographs interspersed with video footage (using actors to portray Hana and George and other family members) and 360-degree video re-creations of such locations as the Brady's general store in Nove Mesto and the work camp at Terezin, along with Fumiko's office in Tokyo, allow the user to immerse themselves in the scenes and click on objects in the scenes that tell both Hana's story and also the path travelled by Fumiko so many years later as she sought to discover who Hana Brady was.
on April 30, 2003
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!
A suitcase belonging to a Hana Brady gets to the children's Holocaust education centre in Tokyo in the year 2000. It immediately propels students and teachers alike to find out more about this mysterious girl. Thanks to their invaluable work, they are able to retrace Hana's story. This book is the result of their search for the truth.
A clear, simple narrative delivers a vivid picture of what happened. It was touching to see the dedication and interest of the children and of Ms. Ishioka to find out as much information as possible with just a name to start with. Well done.
I believe that this book is also suitable to readers aged 12+.
on March 22, 2011
The story of Hana's Suitcase should be read by everyone. The purpose of the book is to teach children tolerance of people who are different. In this case, it was a difference that was not even visible, or concerning for the family's peers, but they were the only Jewish family in this small town in Czechoslovakia and Hitler was sweeping through Europe. George Brady is the only one of his family to survive and this book tells the incredible, true story of his sister, his family, and a group of children in Japan.
The book is written for children in Junior grades (4 - 6), but the story is gripping, well told and impossible to put down or forget.
Recently the docudrama has been released in DVD and is available at amazon. It also should be viewed by everyone.
Let us never forget so history doesn't repeat the horrors of the holocaust.
on June 17, 2003
Even if the targeted audience is children, but this book is also much interesting for adults. It's so well written that you'll feel somebody is telling you this story lively. I've a better understanding of the impact of war from this book. The ending is rather sad, unluckily it's also a true story.