Hana's Suitcase turns 20

Hana's Suitcase turns 20

Posted by Second Story Press on

Cover: Hana's SuitcaseTwenty years ago, the true story of the search for Hana Brady was shared with readers around the world. This incredible journey full of mystery, memories, and lessons for today has touched the hearts of millions, been translated into multiple languages, and been adapted for the stage and screen.


Hana’s Suitcase follows Fumiko Ishioka, the curator of a small Holocaust education centre in Tokyo, who received a suitcase from the Auschwitz Museum marked with the words "Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, Orphan". Fuelled by her student's curiosity, Fumiko began a search through history for the answers to Hana's identity: from present-day Japan, Europe, and North America back to 1938 Czechoslovakia, committed to finding out the truth no matter how difficult. On the way she met George Brady, Hana’s brother, and an amazing friendship was formed.


The story is still loved by kids, teachers, and adults. That’s humbling and kind of stunning to me. It’s sad that the messages in the book are even more important now than when I first wrote it, with the proliferation of Nazi symbols, anti-Semitic incidents, and hate incidents of all kinds. So, I’m glad that it’s still an excellent learning tool for teachers and for parents who want to introduce kids to the Holocaust. But I wish it wasn’t as relevant now as it is.

—Karen Levine for Quill & Quire

Read author Karen Levine and publisher Margie Wolfe’s interview with Quill & Quire

Read CBC's piece about the 20th anniversary of Hana's Suitcase

 Karen Levine, George Brady, Fumiko Ishioka



  • Canadian Library Association "Book of the Year for Children"
  • The Ultimate Silver Birch Award - Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading
  • Golden Oak Award - Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading
  • Flora Steiglitz Straus Award for Non-Fiction - Bank Street College's Children's Book Committee
  • Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
  • IODE Violet Downey Book Award
  • Information Book Award - Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada
  • Jewish Book Council Award - Special Recognition
  • Red Cedar Nonfiction Award (B.C.'s Young Readers' Choice Award)
  • Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Children's Choice Award)
  • Sydney Taylor Book Award - for Older Readers
  • Torgi Literary Award - Canadian National Institute of the Blind
  • UNICEF Paolo Ungari Literary Award (Italy)
  • Yad Vashem Prize for Children's Holocaust Literature


A letter from a young reader of Hana’s Suitcase

A letter from a young reader of Hana’s Suitcase

Editions of Hana’s Suitcase from around the world

Editions of Hana’s Suitcase from around the world

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