Henry's Freedom Box
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Henry's Freedom Box

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4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  6,906 ratings  ·  750 reviews
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. When Henry grows up and marries, he is again devastated when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the ware...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published September 2008 by Scholastic (first published January 1st 2007)
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Gundula
Mar 09, 2011 Gundula rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, this is a story that needs to be told
Henry's Freedom Box is a book that tugs at all of your emotions. It makes you angry, sad, despairing, happy. Above all, it should make any reasonable, any compassionate human being indignant at the inhumanity of slavery and strive for liberty, justice and equality for all. In fact, I think that Henry's Freedom Box should be required reading in every elementary school classroom, not only in the United States of America, but globally.

The fact that Henry Brown has basically no rights, that slaves...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 01, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a good introduction to slavery & the Underground Railroad for school aged children
I read this as one of six books chosen by the Children's Books group’s Picture Books Club for its February theme of Black History Month.

The subtitle of this book is: A True Story from the Underground Railroad. It’s the true story of Henry “Box” Brown, a man who mailed himself to freedom, to a state where there was no slavery. Before I read this, I thought that it was a historical fiction story; I didn’t realize that this was a true story until I read it. This book is a seamless mix of highly dis...more
Julianna
Dec 14, 2012 Julianna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone Wanting to Teach Children about Slavery; Fans of Picture Books with Beautiful Artwork
Recommended to Julianna by: Readers Against Prejudice & Racism
Reviewed for THC Reviews
Henry's Freedom Box is a wonderful storybook for teaching younger children about slavery and the Underground Railroad. It is the true story of Henry “Box” Brown who mailed himself to freedom. Henry's bravery and ingenuity were inspiring to read about. It is very sad that Henry lost his entire family when they were sold and apparently was never reunited with them, but it seems that his pain may have been a driving force in his quest for freedom. He also became an internati...more
Kathryn
Excellent biography of Henry, a slave who mails himself to freedom with help from white friends on "the underground railroad." I love that it conveyed the issues and emotions so poignantly and powerfully without being too graphic or bogged down. I just felt so in-tune with what Henry was going through--I mean, obviously I have no idea what it must have really been like, but kudos to the author and illustrator for making me feel like I was "there" and that my heart had been on a remarkable journe...more
Dolly
Mar 22, 2009 Dolly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an inspirational, amazing and true story, with breathtakingly detailed and expressive illustrations. It is certainly worthy of its Caldecott Honor designation. It's a story that will take you from joy to heartache and back again in a short narrative that will captivate young elementary school-age children. We read this as one of the February 2011 selections for the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books group here at Goodreads. I am so grateful to have been introduced to this story, a...more
Crystal Marcos
Henry's Freedom Box was a story selection for the Children’s Picture Book Club found here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...

First off thank you again to the group for introducing wonderful books I may have otherwise never found! I held this book in my hands for several minutes after I read it. This isn’t a normal practice for me. I fought back tears and feelings of heartbreak at the same time thinking this was a fabulous book. I felt I was living every moment with Henry on his journey to...more
Ronyell
Feb 22, 2011 Ronyell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ronyell by: The Picture-Book Club
This is another book that I was reading for the Children’s Book Club for Black History Month and I will admit that I just loved this book to death! “Henry’s Freedom Box” is a Caldecott Honor Book by Ellen Levine along with illustrations by Kadir Nelson and it is about a runaway slave named Henry “Box” Brown who thinks of a clever plan to get out of slavery after his family is sold. “Henry’s Freedom Box” is a truly inspiring and dramatic book for children who want to learn more about the horrors...more
Erin Ramai
Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story of the Underground Railroad is appropriate for students in grades 2-5. It received a Caldecott Honor Award in 2008.

It might seem odd, but Kadir Nelson's illustrations for this book reminded me of Brian Selznick's work in The Invention of Hugo Cabret. More than anything, the quality that seems to connect these illustrators in my mind is the crosshatching that adds texture, depth and shadow to the images in both close ups and "wide shots" of the action. To me, Nel...more
Kathy Roderer
This true story of the time of the Underground Railroad would be a perfect companion to “Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt,” a story about Harriet Tubman, or any of the books included in a unit on the Underground Railroad. The beautiful imagery and vivid descriptions make it a perfect read aloud. Freedom is compared to an autumn leaf, as Henry’s mother says, “Do you see those leaves blowing in the wind? They are torn from the trees like slave children are torn from their families.” This also for...more
Natalie
All that is in my mind upon reading this story:

Then (March 23, 1849):

Illustration from Henry's Freedom Box
See Henry Box Brown's profile, Personal Narrative and the biography Unboxing of Henry Brown for more information about Brown's life story.

Now (May 17, 2010):
[image error]
(AP Photo/Chiapas State Attorney General)
On May 17, 513 people are found shipping themselves upright in two trucks

Is there room for Hope?
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I'm going to predict that this will win a Coretta Scott King Award for illustrations in 2008. I'd read about Henry "Box" Brown in books for older children, so I'm happy to see this picture book on him. I can't imagine being cramped up in that box for days!
Julia Drescher
The story of Henry Brown is told in a historical fiction picture book. We are taken through Henry’s life, in a brief, but complete story where we learn a great deal about him. Henry was a slave. He grew up, married another slave, and had three sons. One day, his wife and sons were sold. Henry had the idea to mail himself to a place where there were no slaves. Two men helped him do this.

The images that show his journey inside a box are beautiful and help us imagine what it might have been like. W...more
(NS) Lisa
Born a slave, Henry and his siblings worked in the "big house" for his master who, on his deathbed, gave Henry to his son. During the years he worked for the son in his tobacco warehouse. Henry met another slave and they married. They had children and were very happy together. His wife accurately discerned that her master had debts that might cause him to sell his slaves. This was done one day while Henry was working.
At lunchtime, he caught a departing glimpse of his family members, and then he...more
Laura Rumohr
Summmary-
This picture book is intended for children in grades 2-5. Henry was a slave. Even at a young age, he dreamed of being free. When his master died, Henry thought it was his chance to be released, but the master passed him on to his son. This separated Henry from the rest of his family. Henry continued to work hard as a slave, but dreamed of freedom. Eventually Henry met a woman who he loved, they got married and started a family. One day, however, his family was sold to a new master. Henr...more
L11_Silvia Celis
This is the true story of escaped slave Henry Box Brown. The book follows his life from his childhood as a slave on a plantation and as an adult working as a slave in a tobacco factory. After the devastating event of having his wife and three children sold away Henry decides to mail himself to a place where there are no slaves. With the help of a white doctor Henry does exactly that. He is mailed in a crate to Philadelphia and most amazingly is successful.
This was a wonderful story of heart wren...more
Rebecca Janda

This book is about a boy named Henry Brown who doesn't know how old he is because he's a slave and nobody keeps records of slave's birthdays. Henry's family
is broken apart when he is ordered to work in a warehouse. Henry does eventually marry; however, once again he has to undergo the same hardship as before when his family is sold again at the slave market. He has an epiphany one day while working and realizes what is necessary for him to do, which is to mail himself in a crate to the North. At...more
N_Colleen
Henry grew up not knowing how old he was and was not allowed a middle name. Henry was born into slavery and slaves are not allowed to know their birthdays or allowed to have the same privileges as whites.

Most of Henry’s childhood was spent working in the big house of his master. One day, his master decided to sell Henry to his son and he quickly was separated from his family. Henry went to go work for his new master in a factory where he rolled tobacco leaves. After a few years of working in hi...more
N_carlyl
My stomach is in knots from reading this story. I truly felt like I was Henry escaping to my freedom. I'm reminded of how truly lucky I am to be living in a democratic society today. Henry "Box" Brown was born into slavery and at a young age was given to his dying master's son to become his slave. He was separated from his mother and continued to work hard in his new position. When he was older, his master allowed him to marry his wife. They were lucky, in a sense, because although Henry and his...more
528_Kristin
Grades: K+

Opinion: I wasn't thrilled with this book. I really liked the story and the art work was amazing, but I couldn't help but feeling that it was left unfinished. Granted, being a true story, maybe it was, but it leaves the reader desperate to find out what happened after that. What happened to his family? Did he ever find out? Did he help others? What did he do once he got to Philadelphia? The book left me wanting to know more.

Summary: This book is a true story about Henry "box" Brown, a...more
Henna Patel
Summary/Annotation: This book is a wonderful picture book about a boy named Henry Brown. This boy is a slave and is not aware of his age. He dreams about freedom all the time and it seems impossible to him because his family is not with him and are put to work in a warehouse. Eventually Henry grows up and gets married and his family is once again taken away from him and sold at a slave market. He then mails himself to the North where there is freedom and the day he becomes free is the day of his...more
Debbie Gillespie
Citation: Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Scholastic, 2007)

1. Genre: Historical Fiction
2. Summary: Henry’s Freedom Box, is a touching, true story about the plight of Henry “Box” Brown. Eloquently written, the book brings the reader on a series of heart-wrenching struggles Henry endured throughout his life as a slave in Virginia during the 1800’s and his eventual idea to mail himself to “freedom” as part of...more
Sara Lynn
1. Genre: Picture Book/Historical

2. Summary: Henry Brown grew up not knowing when his real birthday was. He was a slave. After losing his wife and children to the slave trade, this bright and determined young man does whatever he needs to in order to ensure his freedom, even if it means mailing himself in a box to Philadelphia.

3. Critique:
a. One of the greatest strengths of this story is the use of descriptive imagery through language.

b. The author’s use of familiar imagery offers her readers...more
Ch_robyn Schaefer
In the 1800s, some slaves took drastic measures to secure their freedom. This is one such story.

As a young slave, Henry is separated from his mother. He is on his own, working at his master’s tobacco factory. Soon, Henry falls in love and, with the permission of his master, marries and has a family of his own. His relationship with them is tender and warm, and Henry is finally happy -- which makes the scene where his family is unexpectedly sold off absolutely heartbreaking. (It reminded me of th...more
Maureen Houston
What would you do if you saw your entire family being taken away from you? In this true story from the Underground Railroad, Henry "Box" Brown, a slave in the 1800's, had no choice but to stand and watch as his wife and children were sold as slaves to a new owner. Henry would never see his family again. After weeks of despair, Henry decided he would find a way to be free. With the help of a white doctor, Henry decided to mail himself to a place where there were no slaves. In a wooden crate, Henr...more
L13F_Jana Wilkening
This book tells the true story of Henry, a young slave, from the time he is a young boy (who never knows his real age) until he is an adult. Henry hopes to one day be free, but as the years continue, freedom seems less and less likely. When his wife and children are sold at a slave auction and separated from him, he finally decides that he has had enough. With the help of two men, Henry plots to escape to freedom by mailing himself to Philadelphia in a crate.

It is no wonder this book won a Calde...more
CH13_Meghan Schultz
This picture book chronicles Henry Brown's experience as an American slave during the 1840s. As a young adult Henry is hopeful that he will be freed once his sick mater passes, instead Henry is given to his master's son. Thus, Henry grows older, marries, and has children. On a fateful day, Henry's entire family is sold at a slave auction. It is then that Henry decides to mail himself to freedom.

I loved Nelson Kadir's illustrations! The paintings are beautiful (as they are in Heart and Soul and...more
Theresa C

Henry’s Freedom Box-picture book historical fiction
Levine, Ellen Scholastic Press c2007 ISBN-10-0-439-77733-X
This is an unforgettable story that students will want to hear again and again. It is the sad and gripping true account of Henry “Box” Brown whose wife and children are sold at the slave market and the devastating effect it has on Henry. Henry is determined that he must be free and devises a plan along with the help of a white doctor, who thought slavery was wrong, to escape. The plan wa...more
(NS) - Heather Hayman
This wonderful book, written by Ellen Levine, is the true story of Henry Brown, a slave who successfully escaped slavery by mailing himself in a packing crate. Brown has had a sad life, being taken from his mother as a child and seperated from his wife and child as an adult. The writer makes it easy for readers to experience his thoughts throughout his one day journey in the crate that is often left upside down or sideways. The story ends as he emerges from confinement and smiles upon his arriva...more
Ch_hayley Medsker
"Henry's Freedom Box," published in 2007, was rightfully honored with the Coretta Scott King award. Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson compose a beautiful synergy with deliberate text and elogquent illustrations. While deep concepts arise in this book; slavery, isolation, and oppression, "Henry's Freedom Box" could be used as introduction for a unit on slavery or the mid 1800's with intermediate learners. Young readers no doubtedly would be mesmerized by the luminous illustrations, yet they may be co...more
Margaret
Caldecott Honor

Henry Brown is a slave whose master gives him to his son at his death. He meets and marries an African-American girl and has three children. They worry that their children will be sold, but both the children and his wife are sold. Henry comes up with a plan to mail himself to the north to be free. Through the illustrations, the reader sees into the box during the journey seeing Henry in different positions as his box is tossed and knocked about.

The illustrations were inspired by...more
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Ellen Levine's books have won many awards and honors, including the Jane Addams Peace Award. Although she enjoys writing both fiction and nonfiction, most of Ellen's books for young readers have been nonfiction. "Writing nonfiction lets me in behind the scenes of the story. I enjoy learning new things and meeting new people, even if they lived 200 years ago."

Ellen Levine was born in New York City...more
More about Ellen Levine...
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