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.

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Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

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.

Asking Questions
This is a wonderful book to use to begin a unit on The Underground Railroad. You can use this book to activate your students’ background knowledge about slavery and The Underground Railroad. Lesson Idea: Have students ask (and write down) questions about the topic of slavery and The Underground Railroad prior to reading the text. Next ask students to write down questions they have during reading. Read the text again and have students determine if answers to their questions can be found. Finally, have students write down any questions they still have after reading the text.