The Robert H. Jackson Center will host award-winning author Karen Levine, and Sophia from the Holocaust Resource Center in Buffalo during its Young Readers Program on May 7-8.
Now in its ninth year, the two-day event will involve hundreds of local students, as well as educators and statewide essay contest winners and their families.
Ms. Levine's award-winning book, Hana's Suitcase is the centerpiece of this year's program. Reaching over three continents, the story connects Hana Brady, a young Jewish girl who was murdered at Auschwitz; a Japanese curator determined to share her story; and Hana's brother in Canada. A tale of perseverance and hope, it combines history with a modern day detective story, and challenges young readers around issues of racism, resistance, activism and tolerance.
Hana's Suitcase is the subject of a statewide book review essay contest for students in fifth through eighth grades, co-sponsored by the Law, Youth & Citizenship Program of the New York State Bar Association. The essay contest winners will be recognized at a dinner program on May 7 at the Jackson Center featuring Sophia, a Jewish resident of Holland during World War II who will bring insight and reflection into the Nazi campaign that resulted in the deaths of nearly six million Jews.
The pasta dinner is open to the public, and students are especially encouraged to attend. One student wrote, "I was very glad that I got a chance to meet Sophia, because I got to learn about the Holocaust from an actual survivor. She told us how her and her family had eleven different hiding places. I can't even imagine what her childhood must have been like. She had to get rid of everything she owned, even her identity. One thing that really upset me is when Sophia said people pretended they did not know what was going on. That really made me sad. How could you know that someone is doing wrong and not care to try to change it and make a difference?"
Tickets for the May 7 dinner program are $10 a person, with a limited number of advance complimentary tickets available to students courtesy of the Red Cross.
On May 8, Ms. Levine will meet with more than 400 students in two sessions at the Robert H. Jackson Center to talk about her book and to answer student's questions. Through the center's distance learning capabilities, both programs will be webcast and video-conferenced live into area school districts to allow hundreds of additional students the opportunity to participate.
Karen Levine has worked in public radio for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation since 1979. She has twice received the prestigious Peabody Award for her radio documentaries. Ms. Levine adapted her radio documentary of Hana Brady's story into a children's book in 2002. Hana's Suitcase is now published in over forty countries around the world and has won numerous awards.
The Young Readers Program is part of the ongoing mission of the Robert H. Jackson Center to educate youth on the legacy of United State Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg prosecutor Robert H. Jackson. At the request of President Harry S. Truman, Jackson served as U.S. Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials of surviving Nazi leaders.
Sponsors include the New York State Bar Association Law, Youth & Citizenship Program, Ahlstrom-Schaeffer, Cattaraugus County Bank, Chautauqua Patrons Insurance, Double A Vineyards, Evans Liquors, Hope's Windows, Jamestown Mattress, Lake Shore Savings, Mr. & Mrs. Michael Metzger, Red Cross, Serta Mattress and Shults Management Group.
The center is located at 305 E. Fourth St., Jamestown. Tours are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information, callo the Jackson Center at 483-6646 or visit www.roberthjackson.org.