Caldecott Honor Book Joins The Disappearing Man in Canton Festivities

I first came across Henry Brown’s incredible story while visiting Cincinnati for the premiere of the VeggieTales movie, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. At the time, I was a VeggieTales writer, having just completed my 42nd book for the zany children’s series.

Being a children’s writer, my first inclination was to do a children’s book about Henry Brown’s amazing escape from slavery in which he was mailed in a box from Richmond to Philadelphia. However, when I came across the book, Henry’s Freedom Box, I knew it would be difficult to do better than this beautifully illustrated book for children. In fact, Henry’s Freedom Box went on to be named a Caldecott Honor book in 2008 as one of the finest picture books in the country. With such a fine children’s book already on the market, I decided to write a novel for adults instead, and it changed the trajectory of my writing career. So I have Henry’s Freedom Box to thank, in part, for my decision to write novels.

This fall, Canton, Ohio, will be featuring The Disappearing Man in its One Book, One Community program. But because The Disappearing Man is aimed at adult, high school, and junior high readers, Canton has also decided to reach the youngest members of the community by incorporating Henry’s Freedom Box into the festivities.

I’m honored to have The Disappearing Man featured side by side with such a wonderful book. I may have switched from children’s writing to historical novels for adults, but I still know a great children’s book when I see one. The illustrations are stunning.

For more details on Canton’s One Book, One Community program, check out this story from

By Doug Peterson

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