Henry's Freedom Box:
A True Story of the Underground Railroad
Author: Ellen Levine
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Awards: ALA Notable Book, Caldecott Honor Book (2008)
Topics: picture book, African American, slavery, American history, Underground Railroad, 1849, Virginia
Summary: Based on the life of Henry Brown, the book tells the story of a slave who mails himself from slavery in Virginia to freedom in Pennsylvania.
- Books - The Art of Kadir Nelson - Images from the book
- Henry Brown from Wikipedia (includes a great photo of artwork from 1850
- Henry Box Brown from African American Registry
- Henry Box Brown from Digital History
- Henry Box Brown, b. 1816 Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself. from Documenting the American South
- The Resurrection of Henry Box Brown at Philadephia from the Virginia Historical Society
- African American Voices from Digital History
- African American: Journey from Slavery to Freedom
- Contemporary Slavery from the NURFC
- Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition from Yale
- Slavery and the Making of America from PBS
- Slavery in America
- Virginia Runaways from VCDH - lots of ads for runaway slaves
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad
- The Underground Railroad: Escape from Slavery from Scholastic (Aimed at Younger Students)
Primary Source Documents on the American South
- African American Mosaic from the Library of Congress. Examine images, texts, books, sounds, and other resources tracking Black History and culture.
- American Slave Narrative from Virginia
- Documenting the American South from the University of North Carolina. Explores documents, letters, texts, and images including slave narratives.
- Third Person, First Person - Slave Voices from Duke University
- Codes. Henry had help in making his escape. Quilts, the star, and secret codes were all used by underground railroad conductors and runaway slaves. Create your own code or system to communication with another member of your class. How might this system have been used by slaves?
- Compare Illustrations. Compare the images in the book with historical images and artwork. How do they compare. Create your own interpretation.
- Escape. Slaves found many creative ways to escape to the North. Plan your own escape. How would you travel? Where would your story start and finish? How long would it take? Sketch a map and write a fictional diary about your travels.
- In His Own Words. Compare the original story written by Henry Box Brown to the picture book. How are they alike and different?
- Literature Circle. Read another book about the underground railroad. Compare the themes in each book. For example
- Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold
- Slavery. Learn about the history of slavery. Does it still exist today? If so, where? Create a map and timeline sharing your findings.
- Trace an Experience. Some people today have walked in the steps of people who escaped slavery. Read about their stories.
- Underground Railroad. Go to The Underground Railroad: Escape from Slavery from Scholastic. Complete the interactive activity.
- Resources for Teachers
Do a Thinkfinity search for lessons related to this book.