The #1 … ( authentic book for teaching ESL/EFL)

** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.

Hana’s Suitcase

Forget fiction/non-fiction, if I had just one book to insist teachers of all levels share with their students – Hana’s Suitcase would be it.


A personal aside: I’ve always had an obsession and a personal connection with the holocaust, read one of my poems below (more specifically on the holocaust HERE). It is an event that has such an important meaning to me. So I’m biased but rightfully so. There is no greater calling than to make students aware of how they too can be “nazis”, they too can be the civilized and the cultured, committing barbaric acts without ache or acknowledgement.


Hana’s Suitcase I’ve used in both my time teaching Grade 4s and Grade 8s. The story just works. It has a detective element and students get right into it – trying to discover who this Hana was, who George her brother was and what about this Japanese woman who tried to find out about Hana? It is the perfect book about a real life and family – destroyed and torn by the horrible events of WWII. I’ll leave it at that – let you discover it with your students. This will be the best money you or your school will ever spend on your students’ education.


I asked her
in bed
covered in honesty
just fed
by nature’s always
I asked her
love lent,
what the number
6,000,000 meant?
Looking up
like a little girl might
counting stars or sheep
she said,
“A large city
maybe a bank account?”
Then, closing her eyes
leaning over,
she said again,
“Come here! Give me
6,000,000 kisses!”
Yes, we are learning
how to count again.

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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