Title: Freedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” Brown
Author: Sally M Walker
Recommended for: 4-8 years old
Call Number/Link: E WALKE
Synopsis: Henry Brown copes with slavery by singing, but after his wife and children are sold away he is left with only his freedom song, which gives him strength when friends put him in a box and mail him to a free state.
As we have had a lot of people from children’s lit classes coming in and asking for historical fiction picture books, I really wanted to give them the highly acclaimed Henry’s Freedom Box. Unfortunately, this assignment was too little, too late, and we weeded the book because it hadn’t gone out in years. I was delighted to find out that we had another book on the same topic that had avoided that fate!
This fictionalized true story is sensational. There is a transcribed letter at the end which is a historical document outlining Henry Brown’s escape. There is artistry in the storytelling, using songs as a device to drive the story. It is too long for a preschool audience or for a storytime, but for a one on one readaloud or for use in a classroom, this book is a gripping way to tell a real story.