Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What's the story in Your Suitcase?



Really, it's a very ordinary looking suitcase. A little tattered around the edges, but in good condition. 



It's 1939,  and young Hana Brady from Nove, Mesto Czechoslovakia could never have known that her suitcase would make its way into the life of Fumiko Ishioka, director of the Toyko Holocaust Education Resource Center over sixty years later.

Hana's days are spent with her family, ice skating and playing with her big brother, George. She is very athletic and has lots of friends at her school. Her parents run a local store, and the kids help out with the family business. Life is sane, normal, just fine. Hana's family is Jewish. There are a few other Jewish families around, but not very many. No one ever thought anything of it, including Hana. Then, one day, everything changed. The Nazi movement found its way into her small town and turned her world up-side-down.

In 2000, her suitcase arrives at a Holocaust museum in Japan, empty. Written on the front is just a bit about a person called Hana Brady, who was born May 16, 1931. Printed underneath this information is the word Waisenkind, German for orphan. Fumiko and the children at the museum want to know more about this mysterious, empty baggage. Who was Hana Brady? What was her story? They diligently go to work; contacting everyone and anyone who could tell them more about a girl during World War II named Hana Brady. Fumiko remains patient and positive, digging through the vast chasm of endless names of people who passed through the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. In a moment of luck, Fumiko finds a clue that will lead her closer to Hana's small voice, which has been lost for so long among the shadows.

Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine is a wonderfully inspirational book. I found it interesting how Hana's story was told through the landmarks that she touched in her life. I would recommend this book to all readers- it will make you think about how amazingly connected we all are, and how each of us carries our own hidden story, packed away in an empty suitcase, tagged with a label.

Happy Reading! ~ F

40 comments:

  1. Shamefully, I have had this on my TBR list for a long time now and haven't read it. Your review has really enticed me to finally read it soon. It sounds like such a fascinating mystery and I want to find out what Fumiko uncovered.

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    1. Hi Alex, You will love it. It is a pretty quick read, and the story is riveting! Great to hear from you today! ~ F

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  2. Sounds like a truly amazing journey, thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. Hi Petty, We are happy to share this book with you guys-it carries a great message with it. Thanks for stopping by to check out the review! Always lovely to hear from you : ) ~ F

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    1. Hi Kelly, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us. We have some fun posts in mind this week and we love to hear what you guys think : ) ~ F

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  4. Oh wow that gave me chills. I hadn't heard of this one before. Going to add it to my TBR list now.

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    1. Hi Herding Cats, The story will definitely give you the chills. It's an excellent book. Thanks for stopping by! ~ F

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  5. You find the most interesting and meaningful books.

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  6. Making me get teary eyed in the morning...

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    1. Hi Adriana, I sometimes get teary-eyed in the morning, usually when I have to get out of bed really early- lol!

      Thanks so much for stopping by- we love to hear what you are thinking : ) ~ F

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  7. This does sound really good. Glad you liked it. :) Also, thank you for sharing. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books

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    1. Hi Carina,
      Thanks! Great to hear from you : ) ~ F

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  8. You write the most beautiful reviews! The last light gave me chills. I can't wait to read this one. :0)

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    1. Hi Elisa, Thanks so much, hearing that means the world to us! The story was a breeze to review- it practically wrote itself : ) Great to hear from you! ~ F

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  9. Oh, what a beautiful story. I can't wait to read the book and find out about this little girl.

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    1. Hi Donna, I think you will truly enjoy Hana's story. Thanks for stopping by and sharing : ) ~ F

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  10. Oh this sounds amazing. I really love reading books set in World War Ii even though they are often heartbreaking. .it is amazing how something so insignificant can lead to a great story. I would love to read this!

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    1. Hi Heidi, We would love to hear your thoughts about it- it was an excellent book to review and a great message to share with the world. Fabulous to hear from you! ~ F

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  11. I enjoy reading historical novels whenever I'm able and this sounds like a book that'll make me both laugh and cry. :)

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Hi Nutschell, It will definitely make you think! It is an inspirational story, and the message is worth sharing. Thanks for stopping by: ) ~ F

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  12. Sounds like a wonderful book! I would have loved to research her history, too. Like the personal trunks brought up from the Titanic, it's more of a treasure that way.

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    1. Hi Cate, It is fascinating! I love learning about the Titanic too! Great to hear from you- thanks for sharing your thoughts with us : ) ~ F

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  13. This seems like a great book to learn about Holocaust.

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    1. Hi This Kid Reviews Book, The story is very inspirational and carries a wonderful message within its pages. Thanks for stopping by : ) ~ F

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  14. This is now on my list. I am working through Fitzgerald at the moment so it will be quite a change.

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    1. Hi Zeba, We would love to hear your thoughts about it when you get a chance to check it out. It's a great story and we hope that you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by : ) ~ F

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  15. I bet Karen had to do a LOT of research for this book. It sounds both eye-opening and heartwarming. Thanks for the heads up, DMS! :-)

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    1. Lexa- I bet you are right! I am sure the research was hard to do, but I am glad she did it so we could all share this story. Thanks for stopping by! :) ~F

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  16. Sounds like a fascinating story, but leads me to a question. If Fumiko did all the research, who is Karen Levine?

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    1. Hi Angela, That is a great question. Karen Levine was a broadcaster who came across an article about Hana's Suitcase and the efforts of Fumiko and the children in the "Small Wings" group. She did a segment on her radio show, and was then prompted by listeners to write a book. It's great to see how ideas and stories travel around through all of us. Thanks for asking! ~ F

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  17. I am so glad you reviewed this book. I read it last year and thought it was wonderful!

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    1. Elaine- It is so nice to hear from someone else who read and enjoyed this story! Glad you enjoyed the review. :) ~F

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  18. Very well written! I'll have to pick up a copy of Hanna's Suitcase now.

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    1. Shirley- Thanks! I am sure you will enjoy Hana's Suitcase. It is an amazing book. ~F

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  19. Yeah, this really sounds good. I like the mystery thread and the historical + multicultural aspects of it. Hana's small voice reaches out through time and space. A splendid addition to my to-read. Thanks!

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    1. Claudine- It is really fantastic! Your wording is your comment describes the book perfectly. It isn't a long read- it is one of those books you could read in an afternoon. Happy reading!
      ~F

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  20. I love historical fiction and I get lost in stories involving WWII. I have never heard of this book- but I am definitely going to read it. I am sure it is sad, but I want to know Hana's story.

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    1. Trey- If you like HF and books set in this time period then you should definitely read Hana's Suitcase. I think everyone should read it! Thanks for stopping by. :) ~F

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