Books For Kids: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

By Kathleen Krull, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Albert Einstein’s name is a synonym for genius. His wild case of bedhead and his playful sense of humor made him a media superstar, the first, maybe only, scientist-celebrity. He wasn’t much for lab work. In fact, he had a tendency to blow up experiments. What he liked to do was think in “thought experiments.” What was the result of all his thinking? Nothing less than the overturning of Newtonian physics. 8-12 years

On a Beam of Light: The Story of Albert Einstein

By Jennifer Berne, Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. See how imagination can make a powerful difference in a life. 6-9 years

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein

By Don Brown

When he was born in 1879, Albert was a peculiarly fat baby with an unusually big and misshaped head. When he was a child, he hit his sister, frustrated his teachers, and had few friends. But Albert’s childhood also included his brilliant capacity for puzzles and problem solving. He set his mind spinning with ideas. His ideas were destined to change the way we know and understand the world and our place in the universe. 4-7 years

Who Was Albert Einstein?

By Jess Braillier, Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

Everyone has heard of Albert Einstein, but what exactly did he do? How much do kids really know about him besides his funny hair and genius label? Here’s the story of his life told in a funny, engaging way that explores the world he lived in and changed. 3-7 years.

Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids

By Jerome Pohlen

Albert Einstein made a lasting impact on the world of science with his genius, fascinating life, and unique personality. This book features lots of science activities. Ages 9 and up

Albert Einstein: National Geographic Readers

By Libby Romero

Explore one of the most recognized scientists in the world with this biography of physicist Albert Einstein. Kids will learn about his life, achievements, and the challenges he faced along the way. 6-9 years

Albert Einstein

By Frieda Wishinsky

This DK biography tackles one of the most colorful figures in science history, Albert Einstein. Ages 10 and up

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.

You may also like Books For Kids: Scientists https://www.barbaralowell.com/books-for-kids-scientists

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Thomas Edison Invented…

Thomas Edison grew up at a time when children went to work to help support their families. At age twelve or thirteen, he sold newspapers on the train that ran from his hometown, Port Huron, Michigan, to Detroit.

In his free time, Thomas like to read all about science and technology. He also liked to experiment with chemicals. He set up a laboratory in his basement. And he even conducted experiments in the baggage car of the train he worked on.

Young Thomas Edison (Wikimedia Commons)

At age sixteen, Thomas became a telegraph operator for the railroad. But he had to leave his job after a train accident was blamed on him. He then worked for the Associated Press at night. This job allowed him to read and work on experiments during the day.

Thomas Edison (Wikimedia Commons)

His first invention was an electric vote recorder. The recorder could be used by members of legislatures to count their votes on bills right away. But it was a failure. Thomas discovered that politicians did not want a fast way to count their votes.

Thomas’s first successful invention was a stock ticker that improved on earlier ones. His stock ticker let investors know quickly what was happening in the stock market.

Thomas Edison and his phonograph (Pixabay)

Thomas Edison’s first big invention was the phonograph. It recorded and produced sound that people could hear clearly. This invention made him famous all over the world. He became known as “The Wizard of Menlo Park.” Menlo Park was his research laboratory complex in New Jersey.

Thomas Edison and engineers at Menlo Park (Shutterstock)

Now it was time for his greatest invention, the incandescent light bulb. Inventors had tried for years to come up with an electric light bulb that would replace gaslight. But no one had found a practical way to do that.

First, Thomas set up the Edison Electric Light Company. Then he worked for years trying to perfect a light bulb. He failed many times until he tried a platinum filament. The light bulb burned for 13 1/2 hours. But Thomas wanted a bulb that would burn much longer and would be cheaper to make.

Edison light bulb (Shutterstock)

Thomas had been fishing with a bamboo pole made from bamboo threads. He decided to try a carbonized bamboo filament. And eureka, his light bulb lasted for over 1,200 hours. It was affordable too. Thomas demonstrated his light bulb by lighting up his Menlo Park laboratory complex.

Thomas Edison (Pixabay)

Thomas wasn’t satisfied just inventing a practical light bulb. He wanted to light up everyone’s home, business, and factory. He started the Edison Illuminating Company. Thomas’s first power station went into operation in Manhattan. It lit up a one-mile square area. It was only a matter of time until electric light lit up the world.

His other inventions include a motion picture camera, and a Kinetoscope to project the images on, and the first alkaline battery for electric cars. It was the forerunner of the alkaline batteries we use today. 

A quote by Thomas Edison (Shutterstock)

To learn more about Thomas Edison and his inventions visit: https://www.nps.gov/edis/learn/historyculture/edison-biography.htm

Books For Kids:

Timeless Thomas:

How Edison Changed Our Lives

By Gene Barretta

Thomas Edison and His Bright Idea

By Patricia Brennan Demuth

Illustrated by Jez Tuya

Who Was Thomas Alva Edison?

By Margaret Firth, Illustrated by John O’Brien

Young Thomas Edison

By Michael Dooling

You may also like: 

Benjamin Franklin Invented Swim Fins https://www.barbaralowell.com/ben-franklin-invented-swim-fins

Leonard Da Vinci Invented… https://www.barbaralowell.com/leonardo-da-vinci-invented

Ada Lovelace First Computer Programmer https://www.barbaralowell.com/ada-lovelace-first-computer-programmer

Books For Kids — Inventors https://www.barbaralowell.com/books-for-kids-inventors

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Books For Kids — Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin’s Wise Words

by K.M. Koystal and Benjamin Franklin, Illustrated by Fred Harper

Discover history through the eyes of one of the smartest, funniest, and coolest figures from America’s past. Ben gives sage advice on everything from good citizenship, manners,  friendship, and being happy. 

Ben Franklin & the Magic Squares

By Frank Murphy, Illustrated by Richard Walz

A funny, entertaining introduction to Ben Franklin and his many inventions, including the story of how he created the “magic square.” A magic square is a box of nine numbers. They are arranged so that any line of three adds up to the same number, even on the diagonal. 

What’s the Big Idea Ben Franklin

By Jean Fritz, Illustrated by Margaret Tomes

A fun historic tale by Newbery Honor-winning author, Jean Fritz! No matter how busy he was, Ben Franklin always found time to try out new ideas. A man of many talents, he was an ambassador, a printer, an almanac maker, a politician, and even a vegetarian (for a time.)

When I Grow Up: Benjamin Franklin

By Annmarie Anderson, Illustrated by Gerald Kelley

Benjamin Franklin is one of America’s most beloved Founding Fathers and a man of many talents. He is most well-known for discovering electricity. But he was also an author, and editor, a printer, and a diplomat. And he invented many things we still use today. This book takes the reader on an exciting journey from Ben’s childhood to his adulthood as a famous American.

Who Was Ben Franklin

By Dennis Brindell Fradin, Illustrated by John O’Brien

Ben Franklin was the scientist who, with the help of a kite, discovered that lightning is electricity. He was also a statesman, an inventor, a printer, and an an author. He was a man of such amazingly varied talents that some people claimed he had magical powers. 

Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

By Gene Barretta

What would you do if you lived in a community without a library, hospital, post office, or fire department? If you were Ben Franklin, you’d set these up yourself. Franklin also designed the lightning rod. He suggested the idea of daylight savings time. And he invented bifocals. All were inspired by his common sense and intelligence. 

Benjamin Franklin (Giants of Science)

By Kathleen Krull, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Benjamin Franklin was a famous inventor and multitasker. He’s best remembered as one of America’s Founding Fathers. But he was also a scientist. His experiments led to important discoveries about the nature of electricity. He famously demonstrated that electricity and lightning are one in the same. 

John, Paul, George & Ben

By Lane Smith

Once there were four lads…John [Hancock], Paul [Revere], George [Washington], and Ben [Franklin]. Oh yes, there was also Tom [Jefferson], but he was annoyingly independent and hardly ever around. These lads were always getting into trouble for one reason or another. In other words, they took a few…liberties. And to be honest, they were not always appreciated. This is the story of five little lads before they became five really big Founding Fathers.

You may also like: Ben Franklin Invented Swim Fins  https://www.barbaralowell.com/ben-franklin-invented-swim-fins

Ben Franklin Runs Away

https://www.barbaralowell.com/ben-franklin-runs-away

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.

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Louis Braille — The Boy Who Invented the Braille Alphabet

Louis Braille lived in the French village of Coupvray. Born in 1809, he was the fourth child of a harness maker and his wife. Louis was a bright and curious child. He especially enjoyed watching his father at work.

One day, three-year-old Louis decided to try out his father’s awl, a very sharp tool. Unfortunately, he injured his eye. It became infected and when Louis touched the uninjured eye, the infection spread, blinding him.

Louis Braille House, Coupvray, France

Louis’s family and a village priest helped him. His father made a cane so that Louis could walk without assistance. His sisters made an alphabet from straw so that he could learn letters. And the priest read to Louis and taught him to listen to the sounds of birds to recognize them.

Louis later went to school with sighted children and listened to and remembered the lessons. But for Louis, that wasn’t enough. He wanted to read books.

When he was ten-years-old, he traveled to Paris to attend the Royal Institution for Blind Youth. The school’s founder had created books with raised letters. But the letters were enormous with only a few sentences or less on a page. The books were not practical.

Then a French army captain named Charles Barbier invented a system of sending messages to soldiers on the field. His system used raised dots so that the soldiers could read the messages without light and not give away their location to the enemy.

The army seemed unimpressed, so Barbier sent his system to the Royal Institution for Blind Youth. Louis and the other students recognized right away that this system was not practical. The dots represented sounds not letters. They were difficult for the students to read.

Louis Braille’s Six-Dot Braille System

Louis Braille decided to adapt Barbier’s system and make it practical. He worked for three years to perfect it. By the age of fifteen, he had developed the six-dot Braille System we know today. Each letter of the alphabet uses a different pattern of raised dots. Louis’s system is used in every country in the world.

Braille


Books for Kids:

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille

By Jen Bryant, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Who Was Louis Braille?

By Margaret Frith

Illustrated by Robert Squier and Scott Anderson

Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille

By Russell Freedman, Illustrated by Kate Kiesler

To Learn More Visit: http://nbp.org/ic/nbp/braille/whoislouis.html

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Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare

Gene Barretta asks in his book Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare: “How much could these two presidents have in common?” The answer is: an amazing amount.

100 Years Apart

Abraham Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846. He was nominated to be a vice-presidential candidate in 1856. And he was elected president in 1860.

John F. Kennedy was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1946. He was nominated to be a vice-presidential candidate in 1956. And he was elected president in 1960.

Their vice-presidents were born one hundred years apart. Lincoln’s (second v.p) in 1808 and Kennedy’s in 1908.

Lincoln defeated Stephen A. Douglas born in 1813 and Kennedy defeated Richard M. Nixon born in 1913 in their respective presidential bids.

Names

Lincoln’s secretary was Mrs. Kennedy and Kennedy’s secretary was Mrs. Lincoln.

Lincoln’s second vice-president was Andrew Johnson. Kennedy’s vice-president was Lyndon B. Johnson. 

Civil Rights

Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation giving freedom to slaves living in the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Kennedy proposed civil rights laws to end segregation and discrimination of African-Americans. He gave a speech in 1963, a few months before his death, outlining these laws. Kennedy’s successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Death

Both presidents were assassinated on a Friday shortly before a major holiday — Lincoln before Easter and Kennedy before Thanksgiving.

We know the two assassins by three names: John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, and Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s assassin.

Booth shot Lincoln in a theater. He was captured in a barn that served as a warehouse storing tobacco. Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse, The Texas Book Depository. He was captured in a theater. Both men were killed soon after the assassinations.

Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare has many more examples comparing these two great presidents.

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Books For Kids — Jackie Robinson

Who Was Jackie Robinson?

By Gail Herman, Illustrated by John O’Brien

As a kid, Jackie Robinson loved sports. And why not? He was a natural at football, basketball, and, of course, baseball. But beyond athletic skill, it was his strength of character that secured his place in sports history. In 1947, Jackie joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the long-time color barrier in Major League Baseball. It was tough being the first, not only did “fans” send hate mail but some of his own teammates refused to accept him.

Stealing Home

Jackie Robinson Against All Odds

By Robert Burleigh and Mike Wimmer

Man on third. Two outs. The pitcher eyes the base runner, checks for the signs. The fans in the jammed stadium hold their breath. Flapping his outstretched arms like wings, number 42 leads off again. It is September 1955, game one of the World Series, the Yankees versus the Dodgers, and Jackie Robinson is about to do the unbelievable, attempt to steal home in a World Series game. Is it possible? Yes, it is, if you are Jackie Robinson.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

By Bette Bao Lord

Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn’t know any English so it’s hard to make friends. Then a miracle happens: baseball! It’s 1947 and Jackie Robinson star of the Brooklyn Dodgers is everyone’s hero. He proves that a black man, the grandson of a slave, can make a difference in America. By watching Jackie, Shirley begins to truly feel at home in her new country, and that America really is the land of opportunity — both on and off the field.

The Hero Two Doors Down:

Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend

By Sharon Robinson

Eight year old Stephen Satlow lives in Brooklyn, New York, which means he only cares about one thing, the Dodgers. Steve hears a rumor that an African-America family is moving to his neighborhood. It’s 1948, and some of his neighbors are against it. Steve knows this is wrong. His hero, Jackie Robinson, broke the color barrier in baseball the year before. And as it turns out, Steve’s new neighbor is Jackie Robinson. Written by Jackie Robinson’s daughter Sharon.

Jackie Robinson He Led the Way

By April Jones Prince

Illustrated by Robert Casilla

Jackie Robinson became the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era when he stepped onto the field as a Brooklyn Dodger in 1947. This book follows Jackie from childhood through his career as an award winning baseball player and a hero of the civil rights movement.

When Jackie and Hank Met

by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

Illustrated by Mark Elliott

Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg were two very different people. But they both became Major League Baseball players and they both faced a lot of the same challenges in their lives and careers. For Jackie, it was his skin color, for Hank, his religion. On May 17, 1947, these two men met for the first time colliding at first base in a close play. While the crowd urged them to fight, Jackie and Hank chose a different path. This is the story of two men who went on to break the barriers of race and religion in America sports and became baseball legends in the process.

Teammates

by Peter Golenbock, Illustrated by Paul Bacon

This is the moving story of how Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a Major League baseball team when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s, and how on a fateful day in Cincinnati, Pee Wee Reese took a stand and declared Jackie his teammate. 

I am Jackie Robinson

By Brad Meltzer

Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

Jackie Robinson always loved sports, especially baseball. But he lived at a time before the Civil Rights Movement. Even though Jackie was a great athlete, he wasn’t allowed on the best teams just because of the color of his skin. Jackie knew that sports were best when everyone, of every color, played together. He became the first black player in Major League Baseball, and his bravery changed history and led the way to equality in all American sports.

The book descriptions used are primarily from the publishers.

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Books For Kids — Artists

Lives of Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought)

By Kathleen Krull, Illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

Most people can name some famous artists and recognize their best-known works. But what’s behind all the painting, drawing, and sculpting? What was Leonardo da Vinci’s snack of choice while he painted Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile? Why did Georgia O’Keeffe find bones so appealing? Who called Diego Rivera “Frog-Face”? And what is it about artists that makes both their work and their lives so fascinating?

The Fantastic Jungle of Henri Rousseau

By Michelle Markel, Illustrated by Amanda Hall

Henri Rousseau wanted to be an artist. But he had no formal training. Instead, he taught himself to paint. He painted until the jungles and animals and distant lands in his head came alive on his canvases. He endured the harsh critics of his day and created the brilliant paintings that now hang in museums around the world. 

Matisse’s Garden

By Samantha Friedman, Illustrated by Christina Amodeo

One day, the French artist Henri Matisse cut a small bird out of a piece of paper. It looked lonely all by itself, so he cut out more shapes to join it. Before he knew it, Matisse had transformed his walls into larger-than-life gardens, filled with brightly colored plants, animals, and shapes of all sizes.

My Name is Georgia

A Portrait by Jeanette Winter

From the time she was just a young girl, Georgia O’Keeffe viewed the world in her own way. While other girls played with toys and braided their hair, Georgia practiced her drawing and let her hair fly free. As an adult, Georgia followed her love of art from the steel canyons of New York City to the vast plains of New Mexico. There she painted all day, and slept beneath the stars at night. Throughout her life Georgia O’Keeffe followed her dreams and so found her way to become a great American artist.

Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs: A Story About Rembrandt van Rijn

By Molly Blaisdell and Nancy Lane

Author Molly Blaisdell transports young readers to the city of Amsterdam in the 1650s. It is a time when world-renowned artist Rembrandt van Rijn is at the height of fame among his patrons — and when his young son Titus longs to imitate him father and become a great painter. At first, Rembrandt rebuffs Titus’s attempts at drawing, but gradually is won over by his son’s enthusiasm and persistence, and he begins to teach Titus the basic techniques of drawing from life.

 A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

By Jen Bryant, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during WWI, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches…until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn’t lift his right arm. He couldn’t make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint, and paint, and paint. Before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country.

Who Was Frieda Kahlo?

By Sarah Fabiny, Illustrated by Jerry Hoare

You can always recognize a painting by Frieda Kahlo because she is in nearly all — with her black braided hair and colorful Mexican outfits. A brave woman who was an invalid most of her life, she transformed herself into a living work of art. As famous for her self-portraits and haunting imagery as she was for her marriage to another famous artist, Diego Rivera, this strong and courageous painter was inspired by the ancient culture and history of her beloved homeland, Mexico. 

The Noisy Paint Box

By Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Mary GrandPre

Vasya Kandinsky was a proper little boy: he studied math and history, he practiced the piano, he sat up straight and was perfectly polite. And when his family sent him to art classes, they expected him to paint pretty houses and flowers — like a proper artist. 

But as Vasya opened his paint box and began mixing the reds, the yellows, the blues, he heard a strange sound — the swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a symphony. And as he grew older, Vasya continued to hear brilliant colors singing and to see sounds dancing. But was Vasya brave enough to put aside his proper still lifes and portraits and paint…music?

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso

By Jonah Winter, Pictures by Kevin Hawkes

“One day the world is peaceful, lovely landscape painting…The next day — BLAM! — Pablo bursts through the canvas, paintbrush in hand, ready to paint something fresh and new.”

Pablo Picasso may have been one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, but that doesn’t mean he painted what people wanted him to paint. Some people hated his paintings and called them ugly and terrible. But Picasso didn’t listen to all those people. He kept on working the way he wanted to, until he created something new, so different, that people didn’t know what to say.

Action Jackson

By Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan

Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

One late spring morning the American artist Jackson Pollock began work on the canvas that would ultimately come to be known as Number 1. The authors use this moment as the departure point for a picture book about a great painter and the way in which he worked. 

The book descriptions used are the publisher’s.

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Books For Kids — Writers

Some Writer! The Story of E.B.White

by Melissa Sweet

This beautifully written biography tells the story of E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family keepsakes with her own artwork to tell the story of this American literary icon. E.B White was a journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. 

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Suzy)

by Barbara Kerley, Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

Suzy Clemens thought the world was wrong about her papa. They saw Mark Twain as “a humorist joking at everything.” But he was so much more, and Susy was determined to set the record straight. In a journal she kept under her pillow, Susy documented her world-famous father from his habits (good and bad) to his writing routine to their family’s colorful home life. Her frank, funny, tender biography (which came to be one of Twain’s most prized possessions) gives rare insight and an unforgettable perspective on an American icon. 

Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder

by William Anderson, Illustrated by Dan Andreasen

This picture book biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder tells the remarkable story of the pioneer girl who would one day immortalize her adventures in the beloved Little House books. This biography captures the essence of the little girl called “Half-pint,” whose classic books and pioneer adventures have made her one of the most popular literary figures in America.

Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk

by Jane Sutcliffe, Illustrated by John Shelley

When Jane Sutcliffe set out to write a book about William Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, she ran into a problem: Will’s words keep popping up all over the place. What’s an author to do? After all, Will is responsible for such familiar phrases as “what’s done is done” and “too much of a good thing.” He even helped turn “household words” into household words. But — what better words are there to use to write about the greatest writer in the English language than his very own?

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams

by Jen Bryant, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

When he wrote poems, William Carlos Williams felt as free as the Passaic River rushing to the falls. His notebooks filled up, one after another. His words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a living. He became a doctor yet never stopped writing poetry. This biography celebrates the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be a poet. 

Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People

By Monica Brown, Illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Once there was a little boy named Neftalí who loved wild things wildly and quiet things quietly. From the moment he could talk, he surrounded himself with words. Neftalí discovered the magic between the pages of books. When he was sixteen, he began publishing his poems as Pablo Neruda.

Pablo wrote poems about the things he loved―things made by his friends in the café, things found at the marketplace, and things he saw in nature. He wrote about the people of Chile and their stories of struggle. Because above all things and above all words, Pablo Neruda loved people.

Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings

by Matthew Burgess, Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

Some of E.E. Cummings’s wonderful poems are integrating  into a story that gives readers the music of his voice and a spirited, sensitive introduction to his poetry. This book emphasizes the bravery it takes to follow one’s own vision and the encouragement E.E. received to do just that.

 

The book descriptions used were for the most part written by the publishers.

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Henry “Box” Brown and the Underground Railroad

Henry’s Freedom Box

A True Story from the Underground Railroad

Author Ellen Levine and illustrator Kadir Nelson bring Henry “Box” Brown’s amazing story to life in Henry’s Freedom Box.

One of the most famous slaves on the Underground Railroad didn’t travel by foot. Henry Brown, with the help of two friends, mailed himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia. The wooden box he traveled in measured only 3 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet, 8 inches deep.

Henry Brown began his life as a slave in Louisa Country, Virginia in about 1815.  In Henry’s Freedom Box, author Ellen Levine writes these words: Henry and his brothers and sisters worked in the big house where the master lived. Henry’s master had been good to Henry and his family. But Henry’s mother knew things could change. “Do you see those leaves blowing in the wind? They are torn from the trees like slave children are torn from their families.”

At age 15, his master gave Henry to his son. From then on, Henry worked in a tobacco factory away from his family.

Henry married Nancy, a slave owned by a different master. One day, Henry watched as pregnant Nancy and their three children were led away, sold to a North Carolina plantation. Henry knew he would never see them again.

With the loss of Nancy and their children, Henry decided to escape slavery and make his way to a free state. Henry devised a dangerous plan. He would travel by steamboat, train, and wagon in a wooden box. Henry asked his friend, a free black, James Smith, and Dr. Samuel Smith, a white man who opposed slavery, to help him.

On March 23, 1849, Henry was nailed shut in the box with only biscuits, some water, and a tool, called a gimlet, to make air holes. Dr. Smith shipped Henry to The Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society. He wrote on the box: “This Side Up With Care” hoping to keep Henry right side up during the trip. But Henry spent part of the trip upside down with blood rushing to his head. Once, Henry thought he would die that way, until two men on the steamboat moved Henry’s box and sat on top. Lucky for Henry the move put him right side up again. 

Henry was delivered to the Anti-Slavery Society safely after spending 27 hours inside the box. Four men opened the wooden box and welcomed Henry to freedom. Newspapers reported Henry’s story and he became known around the world as Henry “Box” Brown, a free man. 

Books About The Underground Railroad For Kids:

What Was the Underground Railroad?

by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad

by Henry Cole

The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

By Bettye Stroud, Illustrated by Erin Susanne Bennett

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by James Ransome

 

To Learn More About Henry “Box” Brown, Visit: http://www.pbs.org/black-culture/shows/list/underground-railroad/stories-freedom/henry-box-brown/

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Books For Kids — Andrea Davis Pinkney

Eight books by award winning children’s author, Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Brian Pinkney

Born into slavery, Belle had to endure the cruelty of several masters before she escaped to freedom. But she knew she wouldn’t really be free unless she was helping to end injustice. That’s when she changed her name to Sojourner and began traveling across the country, demanding equal rights for black people and for women. Many people weren’t ready for her message, but Sojourner was brave and her truth was powerful. And slowly, but surely as Sojourner’s step-stomp stride, America began to change.

Martin and Mahalia His Words, Her Song

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Brian Pinkney

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and his strong voice and powerful message were joined and lifted in song by world-renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. It was a moment that changed the course of history and is imprinted in minds forever. 

The Red Pencil

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Shane W. Evans

Life in Amira’s peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when Janjaweed attackers arrive, unleashing unspeakable horrors. After losing nearly everything, Amira needs to find the strength to make the long journey on foot to safety at a refugee camp. She begins to lose hope, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind — and all kinds of possibilities.

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Stephen Alcorn

Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and sparked a boycott that changed America. Harriet Tubman helped more than three hundred slaves escape the South on the Underground Railroad. Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The lives these women led are part of an incredible story about courage in the face of oppression; about the challenges and triumphs of the battle for civil rights; and about speaking out for what you believe in — even when it feels like no one is listening.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Brian Pinkney

This picture book celebrates the momentous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement. 

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Illustrator Brian Pinkney

Hand in Hand presents the stories of ten men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to modern day. Profiles of: Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B DuBois, A. Phillip Randolph, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack H. Obama II.

Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound

Andrea Davis Pinkney

Berry Gordy began Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. He converted the garage of a residential house into a studio and recruited teenagers from the neighborhood, including: Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross, to sing for his new label. The country was on the brink of a cultural revolution, and one of the most powerful agents of change in the following decade would be this group of young black performers from urban Detroit.

A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the 

Creation of The Snowy Day

Andrea Davis Pinkney

and Illustrators Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, New York. The family were struggling Polish immigrants. Despite Keats’ obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’ hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow. The book became The Snowy Day, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child.

Andrea Davis Pinkney

The book descriptions used are primarily the publishers.

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