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Henry's Freedom Box : A True Story from the Underground Railroad
by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson


Overview - In this powerful story, Levine weaves together the extraordinary events in the life of Henry "Box" Brown, who as a young boy hid in a wooden crate in one of the most amazing escapes using the Underground Railroad. Full color.  Read more...

 
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More About Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine; Kadir Nelson
 
 
 
Overview
In this powerful story, Levine weaves together the extraordinary events in the life of Henry "Box" Brown, who as a young boy hid in a wooden crate in one of the most amazing escapes using the Underground Railroad. Full color.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780439777339
  • ISBN-10: 043977733X
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Publish Date: January 2007
  • Page Count: 40
  • Reading Level: Ages 6-9
  • Dimensions: 11 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Historical - United States - 19th Century
Books > Juvenile Fiction > People & Places - United States - African-American

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 49.
  • Review Date: 2007-01-01
  • Reviewer: Staff

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.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Paths to freedom

A few years ago, I was talking with a writer who asked what stories I, as a second-grade teacher, wanted for my students. I told her my students loved stories about lesser-known figures in history, the "brave ordinary folks." Henry, of Henry's Freedom Box, is just the sort of person I had in mind. Henry "Box" Brown was one of the Underground Railroad's most famous runaways, but his story is an unfamiliar one for many modern students. Henry's Freedom Box, written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, will change that. In 1849, a few months after his wife and children were sold away, Henry decided he was through with being a slave. Finding a large shipping crate, he came up with a plan to mail himself from Richmond, Virginia, to William Johnson, an abolitionist who lived in Philadelphia. Henry poured a bottle of oil of vitriol on his hand, causing an injury that meant he could not work for his master and, with the help of sympathetic white men, traveled 350 miles during 27 hours inside the box. Nelson's prodigious talent imagines what Henry must have endured while crammed inside the box and how he looked after the ordeal. Never shying away from the horrors of slavery, Levine's text dramatically portrays the pull of freedom.

 
BAM Customer Reviews