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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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