In the spring of 2000, Fumiko Ishioka, the curator of a small Holocaust education centre for children in Tokyo, received a shipment from the Auschwitz museum. Among the items she received was an empty suitcase with the words “Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, Orphan” written on it. Fumiko and the children at the centre took it upon themselves to find out what became of Hana. The heartbreaking story they uncovered of a brave young girl killed in the Holocaust and survived only by her brother, George, was captured in Karen Levine’s book Hana's Suitcase, first published in 2002. The response to Hana's story has been overwhelming. Hana's Suitcase Anniversary Album has over 60 new pages with all new photographs and videos, a song written in tribute to Hana's story, art from children around the world and letters from author Karen Levine, Hana’s brother George Brady, and Fumiko Ishioka, updating us on the book's impact on their lives.
It is difficult to state just how incredibly well-written the original book by Karen Levine is. It is a multiple award winning book for a reason. I have used this book in my classroom many times since it has been published and the reaction of my students to it has been universal; they sit, open-mouthed as I read Levine's words detailing the story of the Brady Family during the Holocaust and a Japanese teacher's effort to teach her students the true cost of the Holocaust by way of a suitcase with Hana's name on it. This updated album is a perfect gem and is guaranteed to delight, inform and move anyone who reads it.