Hanna's Suitcase review by Cranberry
Hana's Suitcase: The Quest to Solve a Holocaust Mystery
by Karen Levine
Age Range - 8 - 12
Genre - Historical Fiction

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Reviewer's Location - Painted Post, New York, United States
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In Tokyo, Japan in 2000, Fumiko Ishioka recieves a beaten up suitcase with the words Hana Brady, orphan and a date. Fumiko is the director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Center, and she is determined to find out who Hana Bradyl was and what her story holds. She not only wants to find out for herself but she wants to help explain to a group she leads called "Small Wings." This is a group of teenagers that volunteer at The Holocaust Education Resource Center teaching other children about the Holocaust, in an effort to prevent anything like it from happening again.

On the other side of the world, seventy years earlier in Czechoslovakia, a little girl named Hana Brady  and her older brother George are happily growing up together. Going to school, having contests with their friends to see who can swing the highest on the swings, helping out in their family's store, and just being kids and learning about their Jewish ancestors, the Bradys have never been happier. Then one day when news comes to town that the Nazi's are strengthening their hold on the world and getting closer to the safety and comfort of  the Brady's home, the town gets a little more tense. When the Nazi's eventually show up, the family realizes that things will never be the same. Hana learns to stay optimistic and hope that her life can get better as she confronts the terror of Hitler's reign.


This story alternates in time periods and points of view - changing perspectives from Fumiko to Hana. It was a little challenging to remember what happened in each section. The book contained many pictures of Hana, Fumiko and other important characters that help the reader understand the book better and to get a better picture in their head of what the time period was like.

This was the only book that I have read about the Holocaust that hasn't really focused on Adolf Hitler. It really targeted Hana's journey and Fumiko's desire to find out what happened to Hana.

The way the author wrote the book made the characters relatable. It was almost as if Hana was alive during this time period. Overall, I thought the book was a good short read about trying to learn from previous mistakes and trying to make the world better.

Content Rating:

Content rating - some mature content

Explain your content rating: 

The book had death and detail about unfair and cruel treatment towards others based on religion.

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