JUST LOVED READING: Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets

JUST LOVED READING: Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets

Just Loved Reading:

Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets

Picture Book

Chang. Pei-Yu. Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets. New York: NorthSouth Books, Inc. 2016

Mr. Benjamin is an author and a philosopher of ideas. During World War II, his country begins to punish and jail people with ideas.

Mr. Benjamin realizes he must escape not only to save his live but to save his important ideas. How could he do this? The soldiers blocked  and guarded every street.

He went to see Mrs. Fittko who “knew all the hidden paths to everywhere.” Mrs. Fittko had saved many lives. Other people were there to ask Mrs. Fittko for help, too.

On the day of escape, Mr. Benjamin was late. Mrs. Fittko told everyone to pack lightly but Mr. Benjamin arrived lugging a large heavy suitcase. Mrs. Fittko could not persuade him to leave it behind. It contained all his new ideas. “It’s the most important thing to me – more important than my life.”

The group walked over and through olive groves and past blueberry buses.

Eventually they reached the Swiss border. The border guards let the people through – but not Mr. Benjamin.

Mr. Benjamin lived in a hotel in the mountains until he and his suitcase disappeared.


This is a true story. Mr. Walter Benjamin was a German author and philosopher. His suitcase of ideas may have disappeared but he left many of his writings with his friends or in the public library. Many brave dissidents today escape the countries of their birth because of political instability. Pei-Yu Chang tells Mr. Benjamin’s story so that children of almost any age can understand it. The illustrations are simple, colorful and child-like. Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets tells the story of yesterday’s and today’s refugees.

Switzerland Between the Two Wars:




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About marion

I first wrote and sketched as a child growing up in Pittsburgh, PA and Brooklyn, New York. I received her first recognition for my creativity when I won the New York City Schools Art Award and participated in my first art exhibit in downtown Manhattan. I was fourteen and a half when I moved to Cyprus with my family. I experienced culture shock but I continued to write about and sketch the sights and sounds of another country and many other things. I am a creative person. I write children's and Young Adult fiction and nonfiction. I write historical and Coming of Age Young Adult novels. I also write picture books and art books for elementary school children. I am in the process of writing a fictionalized biography of a member of the Belgian Resistance who also fought for the US Army during World War II. I worked as a freelance editor for two local companies: College Prowler and SterlingHouse Publisher. I also worked as an assistant literary agent for Lee Shore Agency. I was attending Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Program at the time and the experience was invaluable. My course work toward my Master of Arts degree in turn helped me at work. As an assistant literary agent, I reviewed all incoming manuscripts, cultivated a relationship with the writers we contracted and marketed our books to book publishers for sale. I “freelanced” my editing skills which included working with the manuscript acquisitions editor, selecting book covers with the art department, writing the book jacket blurb, reading film scripts and executing general office duties as assigned. Oh, by the way, I edited books, too. I even utilized Adobe InDesign for the editing that I did for College Prowler. I’ve also reviewed published books and conducted research. I have published nonfiction articles and books online and in print. As an artist, I have exhibited my mixed media drawings and collages nationally and regionally and have worked as a freelance designer and calligrapher. I have a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and a MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

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