Sunday, June 23, 2013

Henry's Freedom Box and The Other Side: Soc. St. Mentor Texts

I'm teaming up again with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  This week we're focusing on Social Studies.  I love books that have to do with slavery, the Underground Railroad, and segregation.  I don't love them necessarily because of the topics, but many of them are written in a way that make these grave topics real for students.  At the 2nd and 3rd grade level, some students have not been exposed to U.S. history, after all, we're just trying to figure out the difference between a city and state!  So...I had to pick 2 texts today (I know, I know...I'm totally breaking the rules here!).


The first one is Henry's Freedom Box.  This story is based on an actual man named Henry who had faced the slave trade and lost his family to another slave owner.  Henry is so determined for freedom  that he was going to mail himself north to a safer state.  Yes, mail himself!  It's a riveting tail that makes you hurt, ache, and cry for the character, but then end with smiles, joy, and relief once he makes it.  


 There are some critical questions that really make the students think while reading this book.  I also typically have a reader's response prompt ready for students to write, but they have to write it sitting under their desk and we create a tape "box" around them.  Staying in this area is hard for the kids, but it really makes them think about what they just read.

My second book is The Other Side.  I came across this book this year.  What a I love about the book is how the illustrator portrays the characters through her watercolor art.  The reader can learn so much just by looking at the pictures and discerning the meaning of the story.  

As you can see on the front cover there is a fence that divides the African American side of town where  Clover lives and the white side of town where Anna lives.  The fence continues to be a symbolic part of the book, and the students love this book.  It really elicits great conversation.  

I hope you all have these books in your libraries or own them already...they really are must haves!  Have a wonderful Sunday!

Gotta run!


Joanne Miller said...

Found you through the linky! I have both of these books and LOVE them both! Definitely must-haves! I'll have to try the students in the "box" idea-such a great way for them to experience Henry's journey.
Head Over Heels For Teaching

Bethany Hunter said...

I love both of these books. I was actually just introduced to The Other Side last summer. They are both very powerful!

Hunter's Tales from Teaching

Brandee Green said...

Oh I just bought both of these books this summer. I will be teaching segregation and many civil rights topics this coming year. Great post!
Creating Lifelong Learners

Collaboration Cuties said...

I have seen Henry's Freedom Box but not The Other Side. I love that you have them sit under their desk and tape them in! That definitely makes it real for them! That's a great idea!

Thanks for linking up!
Collaboration Cuties

Hoots and Hollers said...

"The Other Side" is one of my all time favorites. Such a powerful message! I had third graders and fifth graders respond to this text with visual representation--it was amazing what came through in their visuals. Thanks so much for sharing how you use these texts with your kids.

Have a great week,
Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers

Amanda said...

Two of my very favorite books! I use Henry's Freedom Box every year. The kids are captivated. :)

The Teaching Thief