Sarah's Stars

Ellen Levine. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
Scholastic $20.99   ISBN 978-0-439-77733-9    40 pg.
Reviewed by Ceilidh, Age 15

One morning the master called for Henry and his mother. They climbed the wide staircase. The master lay in bed with only his head above the quilt. He was very ill. He beckoned them to come closer.

Some slaves were freed by their owners. Henry’s heart beat fast. Maybe the master would set him free.

But the master said, “You are a good worker, Henry. I am giving you to my son. You must obey him and never tell a lie.”

Henry nodded, but he didn’t say thank you. That would have been a lie.

Henry has been a slave for as long as he can remember. But, as long as he has been a slave, he has been with his family. Then one day, his master says that he will be given away, and his family will not be going with him. Forced to say goodbye to the one thing that had kept him going through his entire life, he fears that he will never be free. He is a good worker, so when he finds love in the form of a beautiful woman his master allows him to marry. But once again, he is separated from those that he loves, and so, he makes a choice. Will he finally be free?

In this children’s book, the history of slavery and the Underground Railroad are explored in language that a young child could understand. This is an important for everyone to know about, but especially the young. It is something that people should learn about at a young age, because that way it will remain with the child for the rest of their lives. The pictures in the story are very well painted, using painted cartoons rather than drawn which makes it much more life-like, because the paintings seem to capture that instance in time, not just a random scene. The pictures fit exactly what is happening in the text, as if the outlook has been frozen in time for the viewing purposes of the reader.

I give Henry’s Freedom Box five riveting stars out of five because over all, the content and pictures in this story are amazing. I recommend this book for people of all ages; it should be a book shared and treasured by all.

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