What Would You Bring?

John Hajdu

June 25, 2021

From filmmakers Christopher Noxon and Rebecca Odes:

It’s all about the teddy. That’s what hooked us into this project initially – a tattered, well-loved teddy bear, which project founder Juliet Simmons pulled out of a box in the YIVO archive. It told a story we wanted to hear. A harrowing, remarkable and ultimately beautiful story of a child and a family and a journey from war and destruction to safety and acceptance.

Stories of refugees are hard to hear, and easy to brush off – the dislocation and violence experienced by people forced to flee their homes too often becomes a generalized “issue.” But what Juliet summons with this project is the magic power of ordinary objects to disrupt that habitual resistance. John Hajdu’s teddy bear, along with Aurora Zinder’s crockery and all the objects described in this project, help us see ourselves in stories we might otherwise dismiss.

With this short film we focused on a child’s-eye view of John’s story, juxtaposing paper doll figures with photos and footage of real life events to do what that teddy bear does so naturally: open our hearts.

Read more stories about refugees and the objects they brought with them, and then share with us what you would pack in your suitcase at: www.whatwouldyoubring.com


Christopher Noxon

Reboot Board Member

Christopher Noxon is a writer and illustrator whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic and Salon. In 2021 his artwork appears in the book “Can We Talk About Israel: A Guide for the Curious, Confused and Conflicted,” by fellow Rebootnik Daniel Sokatch. Noxon is the author of the illustrated “Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook,” the novel “Plus One,” and the nonfiction “Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes and the Reinvention of the American Grown Up.



Rebecca Odes

Multimedia Artist and Writer

Rebecca Odes is a multimedia artist and writer. She is an author and illustrator of four books about life stages and personal identity and the cofounder of gurl.com, wifey.tv, and most recently, thecherrypicks.com.