Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

Henry's Freedom Box

by Ellen Levine

Other authors: Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,9753403,430 (4.44)13



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 339 (next | show all)
In my opinion this is a great book. First, the illustrations are very impressive. The pictures capture a lot of detail and emotion. My personal favorite pages were when Henry was actually in the box being shipped to Philadelphia because you were able to see his pain and fear as he was squished there. I also really liked the plot in general. I have never heard this story before so it was very informative and taught me a lot. The fact the plot started when he was a child and went until he was a free adult made you connect with Henry and really understand what was going on. The big idea of this book is to teach children about different stories from the Underground Railroad. ( )
  sbiela1 | Oct 24, 2016 |
In my opinion this is a great book for middle elementary students or mature younger students. One of the reasons I like this book is because of the plot. It takes unexpected twists and turns that make the reader want to read on it find out what happens next and if the problems are resolved. The plot makes the reader sad and happy and angry it evokes emotion and the reader feels invested in what they are reading. This is what a book needs to be able to do in order for a child to be interested in it and to also take anything away from the book. The plot creates suspense and tension it propels the story into unexpected places and the reader learns so much from this book. Another reason this book is so great is because it pushes readers to think about tough issues. The book talks bout slavery which is a hard topic to talk to children about. This book, however does an excellent job at making this tough topic approachable and insightful. It takes the reader through a young boy being sold and then his family being sold away from him. He is never going to see them again and has nothing to lose so he mails himself to freedom. This story is thought provoking and makes readers question what is right and wrong and how do people deserve to be treated. These are ideas that children do not think of often or naturally, this book pushes students to answer and ask these hard questions. It teaches readers about slavery and makes they question their own view of the world and the injustices people have been put through. The book makes readers look at the world through a different lens and young children need that in order for them to grow. The main message of this story is to persevere and never give up. It also relays the message to stand up against wrong doing and to try to make a difference in the world. ( )
  cduboi2 | Oct 24, 2016 |
Summary: Henry was a young slave who didn't even know his own birthday. He lived with his family and his owner was a kind old man. As the old man grew ill, he told Henry that he was going to be given to his son, and he would work for him and never tell a lie. Henry was taken away from his family and given to the old man's son to work on a tobacco farm. Henry was lonely at first, but then he met a woman named Nancy, who he fell in love with. Their owners allowed them to get married and he shortly after started a family. He was so happy, until one day another slave came in the factory to tell him that they had sold his wife and children. Henry was so sad. He no longer wanted to be a slave and work for this man, so he had two of his friends, a white man and a black man put him in a box and ship him to Philadelphia were he would be free.

Personal Reaction: This book really did make me sad. It was upsetting to see how little that the slaves had, and that even their own family could be taken away from them. I think I would read this to my class, depending on if I thought some of them were old enough for this kind of material.

Classroom Extension:
1. I would make a worksheet with different questions and ask the kids to answer them as they follow along with the reading, to make sure they are really understanding what we are talking about.
2. I would do an open discussion after we read the book to hear their opinions and personal reflections on what we had just read.
  Shelby_Booker1214 | Oct 24, 2016 |
I really liked this book. It gave good insight into the life and injustices' that slaves went through. The illustrations did a good job of setting a mood and showing emotional change through the book.
  KJoPlante | Oct 21, 2016 |

This is a story about a man named henry brown who wanted freedom in the worse possible way. During the time of slavery black families were sold off, families and heritages were torn apart. Henry Brown didn’t know how old we was due to no one kept up with how old slaves were. Mr. Brown wanted freedom, and he would do anything to receive it. After his wife was sold off, he took it upon himself to mail himself up north to gain a chance to receive to things in life and birthday and freedom.

Personal Reaction:

I had a connection with this book when I read the first page. This book gives an insight on what a slaves would do to receive their freedom. I would read this book to a class of African-American student to let them know what their ancestors went through. To understand what an education and knowledge of self can take you in life.
Classroom Extension Ideas:

1.Let kids know what the importance of freedom is.

2.Bring a box in the class to give them an illustration on Mr. Brown voyage to freedom.

3.Put pictures of people who fought for freedom in your class room and ask the kids’ questions on they did to achieve it. ( )
  cedric_edwards | Oct 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 339 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


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 ...
Haiku summary

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.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
64 wanted1 pay3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.44)
1 1
2 4
2.5 1
3 23
3.5 8
4 138
4.5 22
5 209


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,815,004 books! | Top bar: Always visible