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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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Showing 1-5 of 236 (next | show all)
An excellent true story about a slave in the United States who devises and carries off a plan to gain freedom. Not only does his plan work successfully, but the plan becomes famous.
  dorthys | Feb 28, 2015 |
I enjoyed this book. I felt it helped kids see into how slavery affected people not only physically, but emotionally. It showed how slavery changed everything about them. Henry was a slave who grew up surrounded by family. When he was a teenager he was sold to another master. He then met a woman and fell in love, he married her and they had children together. It seemed as if he would be alright after all. And then his wife and children were sold to someone else. Henry never sees them again. I liked that the book was realistic. It is highly unlikely slaves saw their families again so as sad as that reality is, I am glad it was portrayed correctly. I also liked the author highlighted that not all white men were bad in these times. Henry was approached by a friendly man who helped him find his way to freedom. The book told Henry's story of traveling to Philadelphia to be free in a box through the underground railroad. I thought being shipped in a box and making it safely across the country was a tad unrealistic but I still enjoyed the story and its ending. We leave the story knowing Henry is a free man.
  pnieme1 | Feb 9, 2015 |
In my opinion this is a great book. I think this book is a great way to learn about slavery for children. This book doesn't portray how bad slavery really was but it talks about some of the struggles that slaves had and how they wanted to be free. Henry Box Brown was a real person and this story tells the story of his journey to being a free man and I think that it is important that kids know that. I thought the illustrations were great with Henry's facial expressions while he was in and box and how the pictures showed his feelings throughout the book. This is a good book for readers to learn about slavery. ( )
  jherrm1 | Feb 7, 2015 |
Henry's Freedom Box is a great historical fiction book about the underground railroad. Henry Brown does not know how old he is because no one records the birthdays of slaves. A Henry dream of freedom for his family and him but his worst nightmare happens, when their slave owner sells his wife and children. Henry no longer is happy and continues to live just by working, eating and sleeping. Then he dreams of freedom once more and decides he will have his friends help ship him to Pennsylvania. Henry finally gets a birthday, the day he is free.
  kbuffum13 | Feb 7, 2015 |
Born a slave, Henry never knew his birthday. When his master dies, he is sent away from his mother to work. Here, he meets Nancy, another slave. They get married and have three children. One day, Nancy and the children are sold to another slave owner. Henry just comes up with the idea of mailing himself to the North. He spends hours packed in a small box, but he is finally delivered to the North.

This story was very moving. The illustrations definitely added to the overall effectiveness of the book. It's difficult when we can see Henry all squished in the box as others around him are free and open to move however they wish. It really adds an added punch to the text. I was saddened when Henry was separated from his family. I cannot imagine going through something like that. I think this is a great story to have when a class is discussing slavery. ( )
1 vote tstato1 | Dec 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 236 (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 editionsconfirmed
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:36 -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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