BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom

Age 10+

History & The Past: General Interest

“An artful and introspective retelling of the life of a remarkable man and a painful era in U.S. history. . . . A memorable work of nonfiction.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

What have I to fear?
My master broke every promise to me.
I lost my beloved wife and our dear children.
All sold South. Neither my time nor my body is mine.
The breath of life is all I have to lose.
And bondage is suffocating me.

Long before he came to be known as Box, Henry Brown wrote that he “entered the world a slave.” Since childhood he was treated as property; as an adult, his wife and children were spitefully sold deeper South—away from him. What more could be taken from him? But then hope came in the form of the Underground Railroad. In stanzas of six lines, each line representing one side of a box, celebrated poet Carole Boston Weatherford powerfully narrates Henry Brown’s story of how he came to deliver himself from slavery in a box. Strikingly illustrated in rich hues by artist Michele Wood, this 2021 Newbery Honor Book is augmented with historical records and an introductory excerpt from Henry’s own writing, as well as a time line, notes from the author and illustrator, and a bibliography.


Newbery Honor Book
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