Henry’s Freedom Box

  • Title: Henry’s Freedom Box
  • Author: Ellen Levine
  • Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Publication year: 2007
  • Brief Summary: From Scholastic-“Henry “Box” 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.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I think this book could be used while children are learning about The Civil War and the Underground Railroad. Scholastic has a lesson plan to use with this book that includes having children write on Post-It notes what they think they know about slavery and The Underground Railroad and then discuss these questions and thoughts after reading the book.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you like or didn’t like it – I think the illustrations by Kadir Nelson are truly moving. I think these illustrations will have children thinking emotionally and ethically about this horrible time in America’s history. I think this would definitely go on my Best 50 list.

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