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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Henry's Freedom Box

Author: Ellen Levine
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Grade Level: 3-5

Summary: Henry's Freedom Box is about a boy that grows up as a slave, and dreamt of being free.  His original masters gets sick, and demands Henry to work for his son.  While Henry worked for the son he met a woman named Nancy who he married and had children with later on.  After Nancy's master lost a great amount of money, he sold Nancy and the children in the slave market.  This left Henry with no one.  The thoughts of freedom arose again and Henry decided he was going to mail himself to freedom.

Element 3: I felt that this book fit element three because this book allows children to learn about slavery and the underground railroads.  This book will allow the students to understand the history of slavery in  the United States in an appropriate manner, and give them an idea of what individuals did to escape from slavery. 

Activity:  "Do you see those leaves blowing in the wind? They are torn from the trees like slave children are torn from their families."
An activity I would do in my classroom would involve cut-out paper leaves.  I would give each of my student as much cut-out papers leaves as they need so that each person in their immediate family has one.  The students will write each family members name is one leaf, and color it whatever color they would like.  Then I would bring the class back together and ask if each one of their family members can be sold into slavery like Henry's family was.  Once the students explain that there is no more slavery in the United States, I will clarify to them that since that is true that means leaves can stay on their family trees. I will have a big class tree with empty branches made prior to the lesson, and have each student glue their leaves onto the classroom tree.  

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