Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

December Theme:  Nonfiction

A true story of Henry Brown, a run away slave on the Underground Railroad, who found an ingenious way to find freedom. . . he shipped himself in a box.

Henry’s Freedom Box (Caldecott Honor Book) is a wonderful book to use as part of a unit on The Underground Railroad. You can use this book to activate your students’ background knowledge about slavery and The Underground Railroad. It’s a fantastic read with an inspirational story.  I previously wrote a post about using this book to teach students about asking questions.  I would also use the book to teach a lesson on making predictions.     

Lesson Idea: Making Predictions

Before beginning a unit on The Underground Railroad, read aloud this book.  Prior to reading aloud the book or showing the book to the class, ask students if they can determine what a Freedom Box is.  Ask them to draw a Freedom Box.  What does it mean to them?  Next, ask students to make predictions based on the title and the cover picture.  After reading aloud the book, ask if any predictions were confirmed.  Were students able to determine what  Freedom Box was?  Use the book to begin a historical inquiry into the topic of The Underground Railroad.

©2009 by Dawn Little for Picture This! Teaching with Picture Books. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

6 thoughts on “Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

  1. Reading Countess February 9, 2010 / 12:19 AM

    I love, love, love Henry’s Freedom Box! I used this with my fifth graders prior to studying many biographical texts on Harriet Tubman. I even found a perfect sized wicker box with lid to (you guessed it) place a willing participant into to demonstrate. Left an impression on them…

    • Links to Literacy February 9, 2010 / 8:27 PM

      I love Henry’s Freedom Box, too! I love your idea of having a willing participant hide in the box. A very powerful lesson, I’m sure. When I student taught, I actually rearranged the classroom to simulate a part of The Underground Railroad and the students re-enacted what it may have been like to travel on The Underground Railroad.

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