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Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

Henry's Freedom Box

by Ellen Levine

Other authors: Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

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2,0893703,164 (4.46)17



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Caldecott Award wining book that tells the story of how Henry Box Brown escaped to freedom by mailing himself away from slavery.
  jet6 | Apr 25, 2017 |
As a young boy, Henry Brown often daydreamed on how it would feel to be free- just like the happy, free, flying birds. He isn't sure how old he is because no one keeps a record of a slaves birthday. As a young boy he was separated from his family, and now once again he's facing the same fate as an adult. His wife and three children were auctioned off while he was at work. Desperate for freedom, Henry seeks the help of a local man opposed to slavery to help him make his escape. He mails himself in a large wooden crate from Virginia to Philidelphia. Henry was tossed and turned for an entire 27 hours until finally arriving in Philidelphia. Once there he's greeted and welcomed by kind, generous man, where he finally chooses his birthday- his first day of freedom.

This book could be used to teach any topics relating to the Civil War, the underground railroad, slavery, and similar topics. ( )
  JessicaGarcia6 | Apr 20, 2017 |
Definitely not a book I would normally just pick up and read but it definitely gives some great insight into the true story of Henry Brown, a slave who mailed himself to freedom. I think children will find this book interesting as it contains historical information. Text is not as dark and would be a suitable mentor text to use in class when talking about slavery in the Social Studies unit. ( )
  cindybenavente | Apr 20, 2017 |
Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson is a book about Henry Brown a young boy who was born into slavery. In the beginning of the book we learn about his current living situation with his mom and their master falling ill. Henry is then transfer to a new master and eventually falls in love and is married and lucky enough to be allows to live with his wife and children despite being owned by different masters. One day while Henry is at work he learns of his wife and children being sold at market and this pushes him to want to break free of slavery. He reaches out to other around him and manages to get support to be mailed in a box to freedom despite never locating his family again.
I am always drawn to the historical books over this time in history due to the incredible bravery and strength these African Americans display and Henry is no different. I think this book is very well written to show us the struggles henry faces from a young age and how typical this was for individuals in this time frame. I was surprised to learn that he did mail himself to freedom which is something that is hard to imagine these days. Overall this book is very accurate with its historical references and the setting is well portrayed. I think the tone of which Henry tries to stay positive is a good lesson to teach the children. Henry was very thankful for the small things in his life and all too often our children forget this due to the wealth of things provided to them.
The ways in which to in cooperate this book into the class room are endless. I think this introduces a different character from this time that children are typically exposed to and would be good for a creative writing prompt to gage how well the students are grasping the history and details of this period in history. I also think it would be a great research project to find another not so well known slave and tell the story in different forms and present to the class. It is an incredible story of a boy/man just trying to survive slavery and it is a great introduction to the Underground Railroad and the things that made it function.
  Linzie12 | Apr 20, 2017 |
I would use this book as an interactive read aloud for 4-5th grade because this book is an award winning book that is great to show and involve students in, to teach about the underground railroad. I could use this book to teach about character because while reading students get to know Henry and I could have students put themselves into Henry's shoes so students can connect with the character. I could also use this book to teach students theme and have determine what they felt the theme was and will include all of what Henry had to go through to become free. I would have students share out what they felt the theme was an what they would have done if they were in Henry's place.
  SaraGraviss | Apr 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
Levine (Freedom's Children) recounts the true story of Henry Brown, a slave who mailed himself to freedom. Thanks to Nelson's (Ellington Was Not a Street) penetrating portraits, readers will feel as if they can experience Henry's thoughts and feelings as he matures through unthinkable adversity. As a boy, separated from his mother, he goes to work in his new master's tobacco factory and eventually meets and marries another slave, with whom he has three children. In a heartwrenching scene depicted in a dramatically shaded pencil, watercolor and oil illustration, Henry watches as his family—suddenly sold in the slave market—disappears down the road. Henry then enlists the help of an abolitionist doctor and mails himself in a wooden crate "to a place where there are no slaves!" He travels by horse-drawn cart, steamboat and train before his box is delivered to the Philadelphia address of the doctor's friends on March 30, 1849. Alongside Henry's anguished thoughts en route, Nelson's clever cutaway images reveal the man in his cramped quarters (at times upside-down). A concluding note provides answers to questions that readers may wish had been integrated into the story line, such as where did Henry begin his journey? (Richmond, Va.); how long did it take? (27 hours). Readers never learn about Henry's life as a free man—or, perhaps unavoidably, whether he was ever reunited with his family. Still, these powerful illustrations will make readers feel as if they have gained insight into a resourceful man and his extraordinary story. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

added by sriches | editPublisher's Weekly, Reed Business Information

Gr 2–5—Inspired by an actual 1830s lithograph, this beautifully crafted picture book briefly relates the story of Henry "Box" Brown's daring escape from slavery. Torn from his mother as a child, and then forcibly separated from his wife and children as an adult, a heartsick and desperate Brown conspired with abolitionists and successfully traveled north to Philadelphia in a packing crate. His journey took just over one full day, during which he was often sideways or upside down in a wooden crate large enough to hold him, but small enough not to betray its contents. The story ends with a reimagining of the lithograph that inspired it, in which Henry Brown emerges from his unhappy confinement—in every sense of the word—and smiles upon his arrival in a comfortable Pennsylvania parlor. Particularly considering the broad scope of Levine's otherwise well-written story, some of the ancillary "facts" related in her text are unnecessarily dubious; reports vary, for instance, as to whether the man who sealed Henry into the crate was a doctor or a cobbler. And, while the text places Henry's arrival on March 30, other sources claim March 24 or 25. Nelson's illustrations, always powerful and nuanced, depict the evolution of a self-possessed child into a determined and fearless young man. While some of the specifics are unfortunately questionable, this book solidly conveys the generalities of Henry Brown's story.—Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
added by sriches | editSchool Library Journal, Catherine Threadgill

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ellen Levineprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nelson, KadirIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Voici l'histoire étonnante d'Henri Brown , l'esclave noir qui a réussi à s'enfuir clandestinement du Sud des États - Unis de la plus originale des façons ...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 043977733X, Hardcover)

A stirring, dramatic story of a slave who mails himself to freedom by a Jane Addams Peace Award-winning author and a Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist.

Henry Brown doesn't know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves' birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom, but that dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a warehouse. Henry grows up and marries, but he is again devastated when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. After an arduous journey in the crate, Henry finally has a birthday -- his first day of freedom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A fictionalized account of how in 1849 a Virginia slave, Henry "Box" Brown, escapes to freedom by shipping himself in a wooden crate from Richmond to Philadelphia.

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