Monday, March 7, 2011

Claire's Book Club--Henry's Freedom Box

This month for Claire's book Club we read Henry's Freedom Box. The subtitle of the book is, "A True Story from the Underground Railroad" and really...I should have known. I should have know that I wasn't going to be able to make it through this without crying my eyes out (to put that into perspective I have yet to make it through President Obama's book without crying and we own it.) Henry is born a slave and sold away from his family when he is young. Years later his family is sold away from him. Henry comes up with a genius idea. He mails himself to freedom.

This is a great book. The pictures are incredible (done by Kadir Nelson) who also did the book about the Negro Baseball League. Claire still doesn't understand the words we say but be prepared, if you are going to read this to your children who do understand, there will be a lot of explaining to do. Henry makes it to freedom but never sees his family again. It was a nice reminder to me that even stories with happy endings don't have to have perfect endings. And, in real life, things almost never have perfect endings.

I lived in South America for a couple of years and have been looking for really good Spanish and Hispanic literature for children. Next month's book club will be The Perfect Pinata. Get ready to teach your little ones a few words of Espanol!

*While we were at the Library this month we also picked up Too Big to Dance by Doug Anderson and loved it. Even though it wasn't on our book club list I wanted to tell you how charming it is. We've been listening to Zydeco and dancing around our house like crazy ever since.


  1. I know this ruins many books and movies for me that are of the memoir style, but I can't help wiki-ing real life people after viewing their stories in books or movies. You'll find Henry Brown VERY interesting, and a bit disappointing.

  2. Now that I have finally returned Henry's Freedom Box to the library with a very large fine I will go ahead and make a comment. This was a crying book for sure. Somehow, now that I am a Mom reading about how Henry's wife and children were taken from him unexpectedly was so heart breaking. He really had nothing left and so mailing himself to freedom seemed very logical to me. What else did he have to loose. We forget how inhumane we have been to one another don't we. It was a good read.

    Also returned to the library (with a large fine)...The Composer is Dead. The version I got had a audio recording, of the book (by Lemony himself!) and included a musical score written to illustrate the various instrament's allibies. It was fun. I especially loved the trumpet's song and the tuba/harp duet. Just got a hold of Half Broke Horses and Tinkers. Even if I don't comment on time your book club is inspiring me to read. Sallee you know that IS something.