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Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
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Henry's Freedom Box

by Ellen Levine

Other authors: Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

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2,5274263,629 (4.49)20
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Henry's Freedom Box is the inspirational story of one man's inventive escape from slavery. Henry Brown had been enslaved his whole life, but when his wife and children were sold without warning and taken from him forever, he knew he had to have freedom. With the help of his friend James and an anti-slavery white doctor, Henry manages to mail himself to Philadelphia where slavery had been abolished. Persevering through extreme discomfort and many hours trapped silently in a small box, Henry successfully arrived in Philadelphia, gaining his freedom and a new name, Henry "Box" Brown.

Henry's Freedom Box is a great story, detailing the hardships and lack of power endured by enslaved people and the struggle and great lengths those who chose to escape underwent to achieve freedom. ( )
  adrouet | Apr 3, 2019 |
Tells some many true details, but it's not overburdened for young children. This definitely opens the "box" for many questions and discussions. ( )
  cougargirl1967 | Mar 28, 2019 |
Kadir Nelson’s illustrations gave Henry’s Freedom Box depth as they are rich in detail and human expressiveness that evoke feelings of despair, joy, and resolute. I was captured from the start as we see Henry as a boy, learning with his Mother against a brick wall, each image loaded with meaning accompanied by words rich in texture and layered that show the cruelty and violence without being overtly stated. ( )
  NDeBlieux | Mar 26, 2019 |
This book follows a man, Henry, on his quest for freedom after suffering many heartbreaks throughout his life. The story, while historical fiction, is based on a real life man who was known as Henry "Box" Brown. The story can be easily used in a social studies classroom as an introduction to a Civil War unit or a unit on slave trade in America. It is an easy to read picture book that is told in simple, yet profound, way.

I rate this 4.5 out of 5 stars. ( )
  MoCrews3 | Mar 18, 2019 |
Henry's Freedom Box is a biography written as a story for children about the extraordinary life of Henry Brown. A man who was once a slave but made his way to freedom in a extraordinarily odd way.
This book is a good read out loud book that would help facilitate discussions about the Underground Railroad and the slave system. It would also be a fun way to introduce foreshadowing to students who are just grasping the idea. ( )
  TaylorV | Mar 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 425 (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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