May 18, 2014

The Ultimate Silver Birch book award: Hana's Suitcase

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Ontario Library Association's first award reading program, Silver Birch, readers were asked to vote for their favourite Silver Birch book of all time.  With 20 years of fiction and non-fiction titles from which to choose, thousands of readers made their selections.  In April, the votes were tallied and the winner of the Ultimate Silver Birch Book was announced.

The winner of the Ultimate Silver Birch Book is

Hana's Suitcase
by Karen Levine
Second Story Press
120 pp.
Ages 9-12

Hana's Suitcase, which won the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award in 2003, follows the search for the origins of an old brown suitcase, picture here.  This suitcase belonged to a young girl, Hana Brady, a Czechoslovakian Jewish girl whose parents were taken by the Gestapo during World War II, and was then separated from her older brother, George, when transported to a concentration camp.

Helen Kubiw, Karen Levine and George Brady
This past Thursday, as Co-Chair of the Forest of Reading, I had the privilege of presenting the Ultimate Silver Birch Book award to author Karen Levine who accepted the award with George Brady, Hana's brother.  In attendance were Mr. Brady's wife and daughter, as well as publisher Margie Wolfe, and other guests, including young readers awaiting the announcement of this year's Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award winners.  Karen Levine and George Brady graciously accepted the award, and spoke briefly about the story and impact of Hana's Suitcase.
Karen Levine with Margie Wolfe

The story of Hana's Suitcase has won more awards than any other children's book in Canada (note the numerous award logos on the vertical banner in the photo to the right) and, not surprisingly, was honoured with the Ultimate Silver Birch Book recognition.  With this most recent recognition, Hana's Suitcase will be read by a new generation of young readers, many who waited patiently for Karen Levine's autograph on Thursday. 

Congratulations to 
Hana's Suitcase
 on being named the 
Ultimate Silver Birch Book

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