Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439777339
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/01/2007
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 32,450
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)
Lexile: AD380L (what's this?)
Age Range: 5 - 8 Years

About the Author


How did people escape on the Underground Railroad? What was it like to land on Ellis Island?How did it feel to travel the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon? Ellen Levine has revealed worldsof fascinating adventure with her nonfiction books for young readers.

Although Ellen Levine enjoys reading and writing fiction, most of her books for young readershave been nonfiction. “Writing nonfiction lets me in behind the scenes of the story. I enjoylearning new things and meeting new people, even if they lived 200 years ago.”

“Real heroes,” Levine says, “aren't necessarily on TV or in the news. They can be ordinarypeople who are willing to take risks for causes they believe in. Nonfiction offers a way tointroduce young readers to real people who have shown tremendous courage, even when facedwith great danger. All of us have the potential. And one doesn't have to be a grown-up,” sheadds.

When she's not writing, Levine likes to share the excitement of research and the importance ofaccuracy with young readers. “Many young people think research is dull; you go to anencyclopedia, copy information, give it a title, and call it a report.” Using her books asexamples, Ellen explains how to get other, more interesting information. “I may not mention theexact words, but I talk to young people about primary and secondary sources. If I'm speakingwith third graders, I ask them, 'Where would I go if I wanted to find out what it's like to be athird grader?' Most will say, 'Read a book.' But when they say, 'Ask a third grader,' I knowthey've understood what I mean by a primary source of inspiration.”

For If You Were an Animal Doctor, for example, Ellen witnessed an emergency operation on acow. While doing research in Wyoming for Ready, Aim, Fire!, her biography of Annie Oakley,she got to hold the gun Ms. Oakley is believed to have shot in the presence of the Queen ofEngland. “It gave me such a strong feeling about this person,” she says. “That's part of research,too.”

Ellen Levine is the author of many acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfiction. Among them:If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon, If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island, I Hate English!, If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King, and Secret Missions. Her recent book, Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories, was named one of the Ten Best Children's Books of the Year by The New York Times, and Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association.

Ellen divides her time between New York City and Salem, New York.


Kadir Nelson illustrated two Caldecott Honor Books: MOSES and HENRY'S FREEDOM BOX. ELLINGTON WAS NOT A STREET by Ntozake Shange won the Coretta Scott King Award. Will Smith’s JUST THE TWO OF US won an NAACP Image Award, and his new book, WE ARE THE SHIP continues to garner major awards. Nelson showed artistic talent at age 3 and began working in oils by age 16. He lives with his family in San Diego, California.

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Henry's Freedom Box 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Deb-chan More than 1 year ago
Freedom is such a powerful term, something many have fought for and either lost or won. In Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and published by Scholastic Press in 2007, the main character expresses the urge to find his freedom. A young black boy named Henry, who has not even been reserved the right to have a birthday, is a slave in the one of the southern states in North America during the times of slavery. He is first taken away from his mother and then must also part with his wife and children when they are sold just like he was. In muted shades of brown, orange, red, and splashes of other colors, Kadir Nelson portrays Henry's life. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful and truly realistic. Levine tells the story of Henry as he grows up and experiences slavery first hand. But the major clincher for this story is whether he gets his freedom and how he gets it. Children as well as adults will enjoy the written word as well as the pictures in this book. This book loosely based on a real person tells a classic tale that should bring sorrow as well as pleasure at the end of the story.
dmcdine More than 1 year ago
Close your eyes if you will and imagine what it would be like to curl up in a box and ship yourself as cargo. Hard to imagine isn't it. For one brave salve, Henry Brown, this became his way to escape to freedom. Sold away from his family as a child, Henry Brown did what many slaves had to do. They accepted their lives as slaves, but continued to dream of freedom. Henry soon found himself married with two children and the reality of being separated loomed each day. Their greatest free now reality exploded before Henry as he watched helplessly as his family was dragged away. A man who found happiness from within and with his family, Henry became withdrawn and resolved to escape to freedom. His ingenious idea of mailing himself as cargo and with the assistance of a white doctor, Henry did just that. Come along on this heart wrenching journey to freedom through the true story of Henry "Box" Brown. You'll find your heartbeat racing for his safety.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Henry, after losing his family, decides to escape from slavery. The story is moving and sensitive. Children are able to identify with Henry and his decisions, and they are empathetic to his situation. While the topic is difficult, the author manages to present the topic with a positive spin of personal choice and risk. Every child should hear this book read aloud.
PatriciaJL More than 1 year ago
Henry Brown is born a slave (he doesn't have a choice about it). After being separated from his parents he is sent to work in a tobacco factory, where the conditions. Henry then meets and falls in love with Nancy, who is also a slave. Because both of them are slaves, they have to get permission from their owner to marry - which they do. Soon they start a family together. Then their owner sells Nancy and their kids to another man far away. Henry is separated from his family once again, never to see them. Henry no longer wants to be a slave and desires nothing more than freedom.... he "sends" himself to the north, where he obtain freedom, in a box. This book is very touching, emotional and nothing short of affecting. Henry Brown is a man who never gives up and follows his dreams, no matter what his circumstances are. Henry Brown's courage is something to be admired and transcends time. Levin's writing style is very simple while carrying a very heavy topic and themes (:slavery, courage, determination). Kadir Nelson's illustrations are out of this world! While the images have a vintage touch to them, they pop out the page with the hint of realism. This book would be perfect to help promote history, multiculturalism, and the themes that it presents.
AnnaBoo22 More than 1 year ago
This Caldecott Honor Book introduces a young slave by the name of Henry, who doesn't know his age and lives on a plantation with his mother and siblings. Henry's master is ill and sends him to work for his son and in the process forces Henry to leave his family. Henry, as an adult, meets Nancy whom he later marries and has a family with. One day Henry's wife and children are sold, and after many days of loneliness he makes the decision to mail himself to freedom. This book is a true story about Henry "Box" Brown, who with the help of friends was able to mail himself in a crate to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and freedom. I would recommend this book for younger children, in grades such as first through third. The text is simple, yet expresses its points and emotions clearly to its audience. The illustrations enhance the text so that the reader has a visual understanding to support the story's content. The younger children can relate to Henry because of his age and since that particular connection exists, wonderful discussions can arise in classrooms. Information that may be considered objective is the topic of slavery, that fact that Henry was not reunited with his family, or that Henry forced himself into a crate. This questionable information can all be defended if topics like slavery and the Underground Railroad are taught about and explained by adults to the children. The powerful storyline and dynamic character made this book an amazing read and a joy to share with other readers.
denissedl More than 1 year ago
This book has a very powerful storyline that describes the time of slavery. I love this book because it focuses on the point of view of a younger child. Teaching such a controversial subject such as slavery, is made a little more realistic with this book. I truly enjoy the raw truth in the situation presented within the story. Not only will children be interested, but adults can appreciate this book as well.
jdykes More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! The illustrations were beautiful and the story was touching. One thing that I particularly liked about this book was that it was a true story. There are not many children's books about slavery and civil rights issues so I think that it would be a great book to read to students. I also think that it would touch them much more because it is factual. Parts of the book were sad, but that is appropriate for that time and place. It would not be as believeable if the story was happy and cheerful. I think that this is such an important part of history that children need to be aware of and reading this book aloud to a class would open the doors to discussion about slavery.
smpenni on LibraryThing 29 days ago
Wonderfully illustrated, endearing, TRUE story of a slave's journey to freedom via the postal service.
simss on LibraryThing 29 days ago
This book is based on the underground railroad about a guy named Henry who mails hiself to Pennslyvania to become free.I dont have any personal experiences but have heard about the importance of the underground railroad.Classroom extensions are to have students draw what they think the underground railroad looks like and post them around the classroom also have students write own story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The words are too small to read on nook and $10.99 is a bit much for about 12 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this for the six and a half year old son of a friend. It is well written and illustrated. Henry's true story shows his great courage and should be required reading for anyone who wants to know about slavery and how truly unequal African Americans were in the United States. My friend and his wife - both white, as I am - were very pleased that I brought this book into their son's life.
Joyconsulting More than 1 year ago
Great!
Spencer08 More than 1 year ago
My 8 year old son loved this book. He stated it was very interesting and taught him about a slave who wanted his freedom. It taught him about slavery and the efforts a boy went through to become free.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book!!! My class learned about the real Henry Box Brown during our lessons of the Civil War. This story tied in nicely and the kids enjoyed hearing it. The story is just the right length for a read aloud and the pictures are good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great for discussion related to Cultural Diversity and/or African/American history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Based on the true story of Henry "Box" Brown, Henry's Freedom Box is powerful story that's beautifully illustrated and expertly told. A heart-wrenching tale of a slave who escapes Richmond, Virginia after his wife and children are sold to a new master in the Deep South. Instead of just running north, Brown uses an ingenious and unique method of escape - he mails himself to Philadelphia! The escape is harrowing and the story is truly powerful. Henry's Freedom Box won a Caldecott Honor, and is an important addition to any family's library particularly a family with a keen interest in history.
ColeStornado More than 1 year ago
Henry's Freedom Box by Kadir Nelson Henry was a slave who's master got sick. Henry was sold to his old master's son. Henry mailed himself far away to freedom. I like this book because it is cool that he mailed himself to freedom. I recommend this to any one. I give this book five stars. Cole S. 9-12-11
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