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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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1,6772484,264 (4.42)8
Recently added byCVL, private library, Mrs.Knepler, satornq2, Lindsay1028, Mrs.Pincock, eyelevelbooks, CatsLiteracy



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Showing 1-5 of 248 (next | show all)
This is a fabulous non-fiction account of a man, named Henry, who escapes slavery by mailing himself in a box to Pennsylvania. Henry was a slave his whole life and as a young man he married another slave from a different house and started a family. However, his wife and son's master lost their money and sold his wife and children to another family. This was the event that gave Henry the bravery and determination to seek freedom. With the help of abolitionists they packed Henry in a crate and shipped him 350 miles to the free state of Pennsylvania. Sadly, to the best of our knowledge, Henry never did find his wife and children.

This picture book is a wonderful book to use with intermediate aged children to help them with developing critical literacy skills. Most children should not have issues understanding or comprehending the text.; therefore this makes this a wonderful book to teach children how to read critically. This is also a very readable non-fiction book, that will help students re-familiarize themselves with this genre before moving onto more advanced texts. This might also be a good option for text to text comparisons with other accounts of slaves seeking freedom through the Underground Railroad. ( )
  zsvandyk | May 16, 2015 |
A story about perseverance that depicts the life of a slave. Great book to introduce a history unit on slavery.
  NiinaMariie | May 11, 2015 |
Summary: A true story of a young African American man who traveled the Underground Railroad in a box. So determined to have freedom, Henry climbed in a box and mailed himself to a white man who supported freedom. He reached Pennsylvania and became a free man.

Personal Reaction: Henry endured many hardships in his life, and didn’t so much as have the luxury of knowing his birthday. He refused defeat and kept fighting. It was sad that he never reunites with any of his family after becoming a free man.

Classroom Extension: Have students compare Henry’s escape to other stories of the Underground Railroad. Though cramped in a box, many slaves escaping did not have such luck. Henry acknowledges that his escape route was just one of many.
  KaitlynBlevins | May 5, 2015 |
Summary: The story of a young African American slave that mails himself to freedom. The young boy named Henry Brown has been wishing for freedom his whole life and doesn't know a lot of information about himself, including when he was born. Henry finally gets his chance when he goes through several obstacles to gain freedom.

Personal reflection: I liked this book, but I think it would be hard for small children to understand. I think it would be difficult for young children to interpret exactly why Henry put himself in a box and mailed himself to a different area.

Class Use: I would use this book as a text set in Civil Rights and Equality, but also as a character building book because Henry's character shows a great deal of strength and resilience. I would use this book in small groups to discuss Henry's struggles and the causes of the conflicts in the story.
  MelissaKlatt | Apr 26, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 248 (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 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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