In March of 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" and "Waisenkind"- the German word for orphan. They mystery of this suitcase takes researchers and readers 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.
Fifth Grade Explorers learned all about Hana and her experiences during the Nazi Occupation as they read Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine as part of their in-depth study, Bullies, Victims & Allies. How do personal experiences affect perception? How do personal choices affect change? Students pondered these questions as they analyzed Hana's experiences. In trying to understand her perspective, they created their own "Waisenkind" suitcase filled with items reflective of their lives and their choices. Artifacts tell a story about the people who left them behind; our suitcases aim to do just that.