Hana’s Suitcase Named The Ultimate Silver Birch Book

Readers Voted in Honour of the Award Program’s 20th Anniversary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto (February 25, 2014) – Readers across Canada have spoken! Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine is the Ultimate Silver Birch Book, as voted by readers to celebrate the Forest of Reading® Silver Birch’s 20th Anniversary.

“I am humbled and thrilled, all over again. The Silver Birch celebration of 2003, when Hana’s Suitcase was announced as the non-fiction winner, was truly one of the most wonderful experiences of my life,” says Karen Levine. “I will never forget the gorgeous sight of 1,500 children (and their terrific teachers and librarians) bursting with love for books, and for Hana’s story. I am truly grateful for this new honour.”

Published in 2002 by Second Story Press, Hana’s Suitcase follows the story of an empty brown suitcase belonging to a young orphan girl. Who was she? Where did she come from? What happened to her? So begins an extremely powerful and moving story about Hana Brady, whose life changed when the Nazis invaded her Czech town during the Second World War.”

Every publisher dreams of doing important books like Hana’s Suitcase, which capture the hearts and imagination of readers,” says Margie Wolfe, the publisher of Second Story Press. “This truly ‘ultimate’ award magnificently recognizes Karen’s achievement at life-enhancing storytelling, and makes my own heart soar with pride.”

Hana’s Suitcase won the Silver Birch Award® in 2003. Rights for Hana’s Suitcase have been sold in 40 countries around the world. The book has been adapted as a play by Emil Sher and made into a documentary film, Inside Hana’s Suitcase, which debuted in 2009.

The Silver Birch Award is the oldest award program in the Ontario Library Association’s (OLA) Forest of Reading program. The program is comprised of three separate lists: Fiction, Non-Fiction and Express. The Silver Birch program is for readers aged 8 to 12, (grades 3-6) with the Express list typically suited to readers in grade 3 and 4, or the reluctant reader in Grade 5 or 6.

The award for the Silver Birch program is given out at the Toronto Festival of Trees™ in May. Last year’s Festival of Trees engaged over 11,000 young readers in interactive workshops alongside authors and illustrators. The Forest of Reading is the largest recreational reading program of its kind in Canada, with more than 250,000 participants each year. The OLA’s Forest of Reading offers eight reading programs to encourage a love of reading in people of all ages. Committees of library practitioners select the nominated titles and readers vote for the winners.

Congratulations, Karen Levine!

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Media and program contacts:

Meredith Tutching
Program Coordinator, Forest of Reading
Ontario Library Association
416.363.3388 x222

Lauren Hummel
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Ontario Library Association
416.363.3388 x231

About the Ontario Library Association:
The Ontario Library Association (OLA) is a centre of excellence for the library and information sector, with nearly 5,000 members who work in public, school, academic and special libraries. OLA enables members to advocate for the right of individuals to have free and equitable access to information. Our members research, develop and participate in educational programs designed to provide exemplary library services. Signature OLA events include the annual Super Conference and the Forest of Reading® program. Follow us on Twitter @ONLibraryAssoc and like us on Facebook at Ontario Library Association.