Book Review of Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
The Children’s Book Review
Written by Ellen Levine
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Ages 6+ | 40 Pages
Publisher: Scholastic | ISBN-13: 9780439777339
What to Expect: Slavery, Freedom, and True Stories
Henry’s Freedom Box, winner of a Caldecott Honor in 2008, is a retelling of a true story about Henry “Box” Brown, who courageously escaped slavery and found freedom. Join Henry on his remarkable journey and get ready to be moved!
Henry, born into slavery on a plantation, dreams about freedom, but freedom doesn’t look like it will come his way when he is taken from his family and put to work in a factory where he is treated very severely. When he is older, he marries another enslaved person and has three children. His family is sold at the slave market, and he watches them disappear down a road. Henry realizes his only chance at finding freedom is to mail himself North in a crate from the factory. The journey in the box is arduous, but Henry does get his first day of freedom.
The illustrator, Kadir Nelson, is incredibly talented; the illustrations look real and poignantly show Henry’s feelings. It’s hard to imagine that this story is based on real-life, but by reading it, we can learn so much about the past and how we can be better people in the future—fearless and determined defenders of freedom, just like Henry Brown. If you still have questions after reading Henry’s Freedom Box, the author gives some great answers at the end of the book.
Henry’s Freedom Box is a powerful and inspiring tale that will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Readers will love reading about the incredible true story of Henry “Box” Brown and his quest for freedom!
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About the Author
Ellen Levine has always been drawn to stories of people who struggled for justice and ordinary people who did extraordinary things. She was fascinated by Henry “Box” Brown, whose escape is recounted in The Underground Railroad by William Still, first published in 1872. Ms. Levine was awed by Henry’s ingenious idea and moved by his incredible courage. Among the author’s award-winning books are Freedom’s Children, winner of the Jane Addams Peace Award and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; and Darkness Over Denmark, a Jame Addams Peace Award Honor Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. She lives in New York City and Salem, New York.
About the Illustrator
Kadir Nelson illustrated two Caldecott Honor Books: Moses and Libre : Le long voyage d’Henri. 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 three and began working in oils by age sixteen. Kadir Nelson lives in Los Angeles.
What to Read Next if You Love Henry’s Freedom Box
Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, by Kadir Nelson
Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom, by Tim Tingle
The Story of Ruby Bridges, by Robert Coles
Bianca Schulze reviewed Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad. Discover more books like Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Award Winners, Freedom, Kadir Nelson, Picture Book, and Slavery.