Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story From the Underground Railroad"

"Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story From the Underground Railroad"
Author: Ellen Levine
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Grade Level: Preschool- 3rd Grade 
Summary:  This book tells the story of an African American slave child and the struggles he was forced to deal with.  From not knowing his birthday and/or age, to being sold and separated from his family to eventually having a family of his own, only to have them sold and taken away from him.  Henry coped with plenty and eventually his calling to be free took him on a journey in a box that ultimately landed him in a place where he could "officially" begin a life he could call his own.
Element 3: Exploring Issues of Social Injustice:  This element is related to this book because the author describes the life of slave and the social injustice done to this young man.  From being a slave, to the absence of a birthday and an age, to the selling of a human being, and the stripping away of ones family.  This books enlightens one to the social injustices slave were force to endure during this time.
Activity:  An activity that a teacher could do with her classroom is The Discovery of "The Underground Railroad"  Researching what it was and how it worked could be one part.  The next part could be to create an oversized drawing or map that had landmarks of places that were known stops on the railroad to freedom for slaves.  This would enlighten the students on the history of the railroad as well as the endurance of the slaves who traveled and just how important their freedom was to them.  

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