Orca Book Publishers

Browse by Category

Nonfiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 175
Themes: Holocaust, WWII, stage play script
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 01/Mar/2007
Bookmark and Share
Hana's Suitcase, which has been translated into more than thirty-five languages and is currently being developed into two feature-length films, tells the incredible true story of a Japanese Holocaust educator who traveled the globe to track down information about the owner of a suitcase found at Auschwitz. Her search led her to the owner's long-lost brother and a history of both love and tragedy.

Since its publication in 2002, the story of Hana Brady, a little girl who wanted to become a teacher, has captured the hearts and minds of schoolchildren and adults around the globe. Now, with a stage play touring North America, Hana's story becomes even more alive. Hana's Suitcase on Stage is a unique volume that combines the story and images of the original book with the complete script of award-winning writer Emil Sher's theatrical adaptation. It's a must-read-and a must-see-for teachers and schoolchildren from coast to coast.

Karen Levine has won several awards for her radio work, including two Peabody awards. Levine originally produced Hana's Suitcase as a radio documentary and later made it into a book. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Emil Sher is a multitalented, award-winning writer whose works include stage plays, radio dramas, short fiction and essays. Sher lives with his wife and two children in Toronto, Ontario, and Morin Heights, Quebec.

Hana's Suitcase on Stage opened to very positive reviews and lots of press in St. Louis in January 2007. Here are a few of the review comments:

--- Riverfront Times
"This is a big deal for St. Louis, and the exquisite production merits the widespread support it is receiving... The set design by Dunsi Dai enhances the story's emotional power... Late in the evening, when Hana lit a birthday candle, I was reminded of a speech from William Hanley's little-remembered 1964 drama, Slow Dance on the Killing Ground. A former railroad engineer on the Auschwitz line who delivered countless Jews to their death says, "Every year a bunch of Jewish people get together and light a fat candle for the 6 million Jews the Nazis killed. A candle. For 6 million people you light the sun, maybe. But a candle?" Hana's Suitcase is only a candle, but it burns brightly.

--- Jewish In St. Louis
Article - "Real Characters from Hana's Suitcase Get 'Rock Star Ovation' at Holocaust Museum"

--- Jewsweek
Article - "'Hana's Suitcase' has premiere in America"

--- St. Louis Post Dispatch
"Metro Theater Company and The Edison Theatre recently celebrated their sold-out opening night performance of the U.S. premiere of "Hana's Suitcase," a true story of the Holocaust. A champagne and dessert reception was held to honor featured guests including the real-life Hana's surviving brother, George Brady and his family, who flew in from Toronto; the playwright Emil Sher, also from Canada; Fumiko Ishioka, a principal character in the play who flew in from Japan; and the consuls general from Israel and Japan."

--- KSDK NewsChannel 5
"Hana's Suitcase is a thought provoking new play that is making its U.S. premiere right here in St. Louis... It's a powerful production, about two children caught in the holocaust and a young Japanese teacher's determination to tell their story.
It's a production you'll want to make sure to see with your kids."

--- This Week In St. Louis
"This compelling new play for families and young people delivers a sensitive message about why we must teach tolerance and acceptance."

--- Washington University in St. Louis Record
Article - U.S. Premiere of Hana's Suitcase Comes to Edison
Carol North, artistic director for Metro Theatre, directs the cast of nine, which is led by Haruna Tsuchiya as Fumiko and Leah Schumacher as Hana... "We are thrilled to be partnering with Edison Theatre to bring this powerful play to St. Louis audiences," North said. "Emil Sher's script weaves past and present in a seamless theatrical journey that takes us through the darkness of the Holocaust and into the light of hope."

"Hana's story isn't sugar-coated. But there's also a moment of redemption in that the Japanese children are able to rescue her story from oblivion. By emphasizing their active involvement, Hana's Suitcase shows that children can play a positive role in shaping their world and responding to injustice—that they're not just passive victims."

Kirkus Reviews
"Hana's story will captivate young readers as it unfolds. Levine successfully incorporates the two stories: a bleak story of a young girl's pointless suffering and death at the hands of fellow humans, the other a hopeful one of children, a world away in space and time from the events that deprived Hana of her future, who vow 'never again.'"

Resources for Teachers:

Orca Book Publishers produces a number of tools and resources to help teachers, librarians, reading specialists and other education professionals enrich the teaching and learning experience.

Please visit our Teacher Resources page to access and download materials.

Classroom Materials:

Free Teacher Guides

Digital Subscriptions

Resource Websites

Research and Support Materials:

Common Core

Reading Levels