Hana’s Suitcase is the most awarded Canadian children’s book in the last thirty years. The book tells the story of Hana Brady, a young girl lost in Holocaust, and the discovery of her suitcase seventy years later by Fumiko Ishioka, an educator at a Japanese Holocaust museum. Archbishop Desmond Tutu writes in his foreword to the new Southern African edition : “Hana’s story reminds us all to be constantly vigilant to inhumanity, prejudice, bigotry and the terrible consequences of silence, indifference and apathy.”
(EMWNews) August 13, 2008 — In March 2000 a suitcase arrived, from Auschwitz, to a children’s Holocaust education centre in Tokyo, Japan. On the outside, in white paint, were these words: Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, and “Waisenkind” – the German word for orphan.
Hana’s Suitcase recounts the amazing story of what happened when Fumiko Ishioka, an educator at the museum, set out to learn what happened to Hana Brady. The heartbreaking story she uncovered, of a brave young girl who perished in the Holocaust, has touched readers around the world. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end South Africa’s apartheid system, has written a powerful foreword to the edition being published in his homeland:
“How extraordinary that this humble suitcase has enabled children all over the world to learn through Hana’s story the terrible history of what happened and that it continues to urge them to heed the warnings of history. Hana’s story reminds us all to be constantly vigilant to inhumanity, prejudice, bigotry and the terrible consequences of silence, indifference and apathy.”
The August launch of the South African edition is being celebrated by its publisher, New Africa Books, with events in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. The launch coincides with the opening of a children’s art exhibition about tolerance. New Africa Books is working with the South African Holocaust Foundation. Fumiko Ishioka and Lara Brady, Hana’s niece, are both participating in the celebration.
Written by CBC journalist Karen Levine, Hana’s Suitcase was first published by Second Story Press in 2002, going on to win more awards than any other Canadian book for young people in the last thirty years, including awards from UNICEF and Yad Vashem. The stage adaptation of the book is touring North America and Japan, and there are two film versions in production. Hana is being published in 40 countries, 29 languages, and 41 editions around the world.
Says Margie Wolfe, publisher of Second Story Press: “Hana’s Suitcase has captured the hearts and minds of people around the world. Like Anne Frank, Hana gives a human face to the Holocaust. Karen Levine, the author, and all of us at Second Story are honored and humbled that our book continues to inspire and educate children from so many backgrounds and cultures.”
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