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Author: Karen Levine

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Publisher: Second Story Press,

Material: paperback

Summary: In the period 1939-1945, Adolph Hitler initiated a campaign to eliminate all Jewish people in Europe. The Holocaust, as it was called, reeked havoc on the lives of six million Jews. Hana’s Suitcase is the story of Hana and George Brady who, with their family, experienced the pain and suffering of the concentration camps. In 2000, a young Japanese woman, Fumiko Ishioka established a children’s Holocaust education center in Tokyo. Fumiko and her students received a suitcase that belonged to Hana Brady. Fumiko and her students were anxious to begin a search for Hana and her brother George. The adventure was long and tedious but the payoff was worth the dedication and persistence. This is a heart-warming story meant to be shared with others.

Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, interactive reading

Recommended Age: read together: 10 and up; read yourelf: 10 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a 10. There are no weak spots in the story. The three independent story lines is an imaginative way to keep the reader on the edge of their seat ... and then there's the script for the play.

Pros: This is a fascinating story that readers will find hard to put down. The author skillfully integrates three independent story lines that keep the reader engaged. Another attribute is the addition of Emil Sher’s script of the play, “Hana’s Suitcase on Stage.”

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! This is an excellent story. Yes, it is another book about the Holocaust. No, it is not gratuitous. It is a compelling story that the reader will find informative and thoughtful. It certainly raises questions about human nature and provides positive examples that demonstrate that there is cause for hope.

If You Liked This Book, Try: WAR KIDS 1941-1945; WW II Through the Eyes of Children   IN THE SHADOW OF THE CATHEDRAL: GROWING UP IN HOLLAND DURING WORLD WAR II   A LUCKY CHILD: A Memoir Of Surviving Auschwitz As A Young Boy

Educational Themes: Hana Brady and her brother, George watched the world all around them fall to pieces as Hitler carried out arrests and murders of Jews. After trying to evade the Gestapo, Hana and George were finally captured and imprisoned. Their indomitable spirit and personal determination to live to see their family, kept them alive. Hana was among the last group who was processed through Auschwitz.

Notes: The publisher/author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - history, War, 1930s, 1940s, biography, performing arts, Judaism, middle grade, young adult

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2009

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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