In March 2000, a suitcase arrived at a children's Holocaust education center in Tokyo, Japan. On the outside, in white paint, were these words: Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, and Waisenkind – the German word for orphan. Children who saw the suitcase on display were full of questions. Who was Hana Brady? What happened to her? They wanted Fumiko Ishioka, the center's curator, to find the answers. In a suspenseful journey, Fumiko searches for clues across Europe and North America. The mystery of the suitcase takes her back through seventy years, to a young Hana and her family, whose happy life in a small Czech town was turned upside down by the invasion of the Nazis. "Like the very best of museum exhibits, Hana's Suitcase shows how facts and objects can be put together to honour its subject in a very personal and loving way. Highly recommended." – The Toronto Star "Skillfully, and with great sensitivity, Levine weaves together the two stories, alternating that of a young life shattered in increments and that of Fumiko Ishioka's relentless search for answers." – The Globe and Mail
Karen Levine and Alan Gelb are a husband/wife team who write many professional and consumer works. They work in conjunction with an industry professional. Their Survival Guides have been highly successful.