Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction Drama

Hana's Suitcase on Stage

contributions by Emil Sher

by (author) Karen Levine

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2006
Drama, Holocaust, Military & Wars
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2006
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 18
  • Grade: 3 to 12
  • Reading age: 9 to 18


In 2000 Fumiko, the curator of a small Holocaust education centre in Japan, received an empty suitcase owned by a young girl, Hana Brady, lost in the Holocaust. Fumiko was determined to find out the details of Hana's story. This edition contains the full script of the play adaptation by Emil Sher.

About the authors


Emil Sher
a grandi à Montréal. Il a enseigné dans une école secondaire au Botswana et
aujourd'hui, il écrit des livres pour enfants, des scénarios, des pièces de
théâtre et des livres documentaires. Son premier roman, Young Man With Camera, a été mis en nomination pour le Prix du
Gouverneur général. Il a adapté au théâtre l'oeuvre à succès de Karen
Levine, La valise d'Hana. Cette pièce a été jouée dans toute
l'Amérique du Nord et en Israël. Emil vit à Toronto avec sa famille.


EMIL SHER writes prose and plays for the young and the once-were-young. His first novel, Young Man with Camera, was published by Scholastic in Fall 2015 and has received numerous awards and honours. Emil is a laureate of the 2014 K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Literature. His picture book Mittens to Share, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher, was published in 2016. Emil has written the stage play adaptations of Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine and The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown, and the script and lyrics for a stage musical of Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater. He was also the writer for The Book of Ashes, inspired by the true story of an Iraqi librarian who saved tens of thousands of books in the midst of war, which premiered at the International Children’s Festival in St. Albert, Alberta, in spring 2016. Emil lives in Toronto, Ontario. Visit him at


Emil Sher's profile page

Karen Levine is a prizewinning producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio. Karen has won awards for her radio work, including two Peabody Awards - the Oscars of radio. She originally produced Hana’s Suitcase as a radio documentary before making it into a book. Though she travels widely to talk about the book, she makes her home in Toronto with her partner and her son.

Karen Levine's profile page


  • Commended, American Library Association's Notable Children's Books for Middle
  • Commended, Cooperative Children's Book Centre Choices
  • Winner, Great Lakes Great Books Award
  • Winner, White Ravens Award, International Children's Digital Library
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre's Our Choice Annual, Starred Selection

Editorial Reviews

Hana's Suitcase On Stage is the definitive version for those interested in reading this remarkable story for the first time. Containing both the original story, Hana's Suitcase, written by Karen Levine, and the play version by well-known playwright Emil Sher, this is a must-have for your keeper shelf.
Hana's Suitcase is the story (bestselling, I might add) of a suitcase that arrived at a children's Holocaust education center in Tokyo in March of 2000. Written in white paint on the outside of the suitcase was the name Hana Brady, the date of May 16, 1931, and the word Waisenkind, which is German for orphan.
Of course the children at the center immediately wondered who Hana was, where the suitcase came from, and who had sent it to them. It was up to the center's director, Fumiko Ishioka, to find the answers to those questions, and many more.
What follows is Mr. Ishioka's search, throughout Europe and North America, to find out any information he could about Hana Brady -- and that fateful suitcase.
In Emil Sher's play version, the story is the same, but brought vividly to life by his playwriting. Perfect either as a story to read or as inspiration for a school drama club, this is the play that you don't want to miss.
Kudos to such a great version: Hana's Suitcase On Stage is great!

This volume will serve as one of the most effective teaching models for Holocaust curriculums available.


Writer Emil Sher has adapted the story faithfully for the stage.

Toronto Star

Hana’s Suitcase works as a play because it builds connections with its audience’s members.

Toronto City Parent

A delicate and moving introduction to Holocaust themes for children.

Globe and Mail

Sher’s interpretation of the story will lead to much interesting discussion with the many fans of Levine’s book.

Resource Links

It's a strong testament to the forces that bring people together: imagination, curiosity and hope.

NOW Toronto

Librarian Reviews

Hana’s Suitcase on Stage

The remarkable true-life Holocaust story is ready for live theatre. This new book includes the script of the play, together with the full text of the original story.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.

Other titles by Emil Sher

Other titles by Karen Levine