for Henry's Freedom Box
by Ellen Levine
and Kadir Nelson
Drawing from an actual historical account, Ellen Levine details some of the hardships and heartbreaks of slavery, and the creative resiliency of Henry “Box” Brown, a man who mailed himself to freedom. Levine’s account begins with the child Henry, who is cautioned by his master never to tell a lie when he gives Henry as a gift to his son. “Henry “didn’t say thank you. That would have been a lie.” Henry grows up and falls in love. Soon he and Nancy, his wife, have a family. When Nancy and his children are sold away, “Henry’s heart twisted in his chest.” He emerges from a period of despair determined to be master of his own fate, conceiving of the plan to mail himself to freedom. Henry succeeds with the help of an African American friend and a white abolitionist. There are questions that Levine’s narrative cannot answer because the answers are unknown, such as what happened to Henry’s wife and children, but the tragedy of slavery, and Henry’s dignity and self-determination, shine in both her words and Kadir Nelson’s stirring images. (Ages 8–12)
CCBC Choices 2008. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008. Used with permission.
A stirring, dramatic story of a slave who mails himself to freedom by a Jane Addams Peace Award-winning author and a Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist.
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. 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.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.