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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 244 (next | show all)
A true story that reads more like a fantastic adventure. I just wish he'd escaped before he brought children into such misery. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
This story was based on a true story about a boy who grew up in slavery but eventually was able to escape because of the Underground Railroad. The big idea of this story courage. Henry was very sad because his family was taken away from him and sold to another slave owner. He was brave enough to get into the box and travel such far distances all in hope for his freedom. I liked this box for two reasons. The first reason I liked this story was because it was based on a true story of one slave escaping to freedom using the Underground Railroad. At the end of the story, the author wrote a note to readers stating what the Underground Railroad was- “It was all the secret ways slaves made their way from the South to the North. They hid in carts, rode on horseback, walked hundreds of miles through forests and swamps, and crossed flowing rivers in summer and icebound rivers in winter.” This story taught me something new because I did not know shipping themselves to a new state was one way slaves escaped. The second reason I liked this book was because of the illustrations, more specifically the pages with Henry inside the box, because the illustrator drew it so that the reader could see how squished Henry was, and what position his body was in every time they turned him over. It showed how uncomfortable he was during his travels, but also showed his bravery to not move because he did not want anyone to hear him inside. ( )
  JeNeeH | Mar 31, 2015 |
This was a great story. The main idea was finding freedom from slavery. A boy named Henry was with his mother and siblings on a plantation. His mother compared their family to the leaves saying “One day we will be split up like the leaves are ripped away from the trees.” This is so powerful to see this perspective and reflect on how this used to be the way of like for people. Henry was given to his master’s son and his family was sold and pulled away. Henry then grew to be a man who was given permission to be married to another slave on the neighboring plantation. After they have had children, again his family had been sold and ripped away from him. He then had a friend mail him to freedom in Pennsylvania. The liked the illustrations in this story. They were very dark and earthy tones that captured the lifestyle the slaves and Henry lived with. There was a weight to each picture up to his freedom. The colors then lightened up for a source of relief. Another reason why I liked this book was the authors note in the back. The author had then retold the true story about the man who mailed himself to freedom. I enjoyed this book and al its integrity towards the real story. ( )
  kfrey4 | Mar 31, 2015 |
Summary: This was a story about a young African-American slave named Henry Brown. He was sold from his family, made his own family, and then had them taken from him and sold as well. He wanted to be free, and finally, he figured out how. He asked a white man who opposed slavery for help, and had himself mailed to friends in Philadelphia, where there weren’t slaves, so that he could start over, free. And he was successful.

Personal Reaction: This story, aside from the ending where Henry finally got his freedom, was very sad. Henry lost his parents, and then his own wife and kids to slavery, and couldn’t get them back because he was stuck with his own master. The ending was hopeful though, and I did enjoy the book.

Classroom Extension:
1. Talk to the kids about what it would be like to be stuck in a box for that long, have them play a game to see who could be quiet the longest, to see if they could stay silent in the box.
2. Have children compare and contrast their lives now to Henry's back then.
  yelhsajoh | Mar 25, 2015 |
Summary of Book: This book is about a little boy named Henry Brown. He grew up during the time when slavery was allowed. During this time in history slaves records were not kept, so Henry did not know how old he was. As Henry grows up all he can dream about is of freedom but his dreams seem so far fetched and out of reach. He was taken from his family and began working in a warehouse. Later in life Henry married and his family was also sold as slaves. Henry finally comes up with an idea to ship himself in a crate, up North so he can finally become free.

Personal Reaction: This book will surely make you tear up. Makes my heart break how slaves were treated back in the day. No human being deserves to be treated so poorly.

Extension Ideas: 1) Students can compare and contrast their lives in present times versus Henry's life during slavery.
2) Students will then write about how they think they would feel if they were Henry and how they would over come these struggles.
  ah932109 | Mar 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 244 (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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