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Henry's Freedom Box

by Ellen Levine

Other authors: Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

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2,7104603,625 (4.51)21
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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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 459 (next | show all)
"Henry's Freedom Box" by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson is a powerful non-fictional story about an African American man, Henry Brown, and his unfortunately real-life experience. The story takes place in the United States and Henry Freedom is born into slavery and endures every hardship that came with slavery in America. After Henry losses his family he makes the courageous decision to mail himself in a wooden box to freedom in the north. It is so crucial to use and show students work by African American artists as well as stories about America's ugly and disgraceful history, no matter what the demographic of your students. I enjoyed this story as the author delivered the powerful life of Henry Brown clearly and concisely and the illustrations by Kadir Nelson only add to the story. I am excited to use this book, over and over again in my future classroom. ( )
  JAdair1 | May 12, 2020 |
This book is another one of the inspirational stories I read this semester. It does a great job telling how someone can always get to where they want to be, no matter their situation. Henry even got out of his situation by putting himself in a box to be shipped. ( )
  Dscruggs24 | Apr 27, 2020 |
Henry Brown was born a slave. Throughout his life, he dreamed of freedom. When his family is sold and taken away from him, Henry makes a daring move and ships himself in a box to the north where he can finally be free. I thought this book told Henry's heartbreaking but inspiring story in a great way. The illustrations were beautiful and I was not expecting the "freedom box" to be what is was. I think this book demonstrates the strength of the human spirit. ( )
  SophiaLCastillo | Apr 24, 2020 |
I enjoy reading stories from history that have positive endings. Henry was a slave on a tobacco farm. When his family was sold he was determined to set his self free. Henry came up with a plan to mail himself in a box to a place where slavery didn’t exist. With the help of two friends, Henry mailed his self to Pennsylvania. When he made it he was welcomed with open arms.
An amazing story of a courageous man who freed himself. When I hear stories of the Underground Railroad, I always imagine people taking a path on foot. I like the creative approach Henry took on using the box to freedom. ( )
  Lakieshal | Apr 22, 2020 |
More than anything henry wanted to know his birthday. But Henry was a slave. Slaves had no right to anything, not even the knowledge of when they were born. Henry longed for freedom, just like others I suppose. He thought that Master was going to free him and his mother because he was ill. To Henry's, not his mother's, surprise, Henry was "given" to Master's son, a mean tobacco farmer who got being Master right....right down to the beatings. Regardless of being a slave, Henry tried to live. He met Nancy and fell in love. With the permission from their masters, they got married and had 3 children. To Henry's dismay, not to anyone's else's, his family was sold off. There was nothing he could do about it. This set Henry on a course to mail himself to freedom. With the help of one and the compassion of another, Henry was "boxed" up and shipped to Philadelphia, finally gaining his freedom. But was he really free, knowing that there were pieces in him of his wife and pieces of him in his children that were still, still slaves? ( )
  J.Peterson | Apr 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 459 (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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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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