Title: Henry’s Freedom Box
Reference: Levine, E., & Nelson, K. (2007). Henry’s Freedom Box. New York: Scholastic Press.
Brief Annotation: This is the story of a boy who was born into slavery, and when his kind master passed away, was given to his master’s less kind son. As he grows up he meets his love whom he gets permission to marry, and they have children. When his new master needs more money Henry’s family is sold. With the help of a trusted white doctor, and the doctor’s friends Henry goes on a long journey to find freedom.
Grade Level: 4-5
Readers who will like this: Readers who are learning about slavery would enjoy and learn from this book. Although the words are easy enough for a 2nd or 3rd grader to understand, the content is dark, and so more suitable for older students. This would be good for students who are learning about the treatment of slaves, and their lack of ownership of their own bodies, families, and lives. This would also show that not all people were in favor of slavery, but also how difficult it was to escape, or help a slave escape from their owners.
Rating/Response: I would rate this book a 4, despite the dark content which makes it hard to read, it is very informative. It is important that students know the past of the United States, no matter how unpleasant so that it will not be repeated in the future. I think that this story was well written, in a way that elementary age students would be able to understand and learn from.
Text Dependent Question: Who helped Henry to escape to freedom?
Interactive Read Aloud; Page 53
Tompkins, G. E. (2013). 50 literacy strategies: step by step. Boston: Pearson.
This is a strategy that can be used to engage the students in the read aloud. This ensures that they understand what is going on, and the message that is being conveyed by the author. This involves: picking a book, previewing it, introducing the book, reading it interactively and having students do an after-reading activity to show what they learned. This is a good strategy for this book because it is important to gauge what the students learned from this book- it has particularly dark content for young readers that would need to be discussed and explained.