My Name Is Henry Bibb: A Story of Slavery and Freedom


Manushree A
published on 05 June 2023
My Name Is Henry Bibb: A Story of Slavery and Freedom
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Title: My Name Is Henry Bibb: A Story of Slavery and Freedom
Author: Afua Cooper
Audience: General Public
Difficulty: Medium
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Published: 2021
Pages: 164

"My Name Is Henry Bibb" is a compelling children's novel that is based on the life of its namesake, Henry Bibb. The author skillfully captures the struggles and triumphs of Bibb, offering a profound exploration of slavery, escape, and the quest for freedom. With vivid storytelling and meticulous research, the author also renders this book suitable for elementary school children interested in African American history and the fight against slavery.

The deeply poignant children's novel My Name Is Henry Bibb takes readers on an engrossing journey through the unique life of Henry Bibb, an African American man born into slavery in the early 19th century. This novel, based on Bibb's true history, is written in the form of an autobiography from Bibb's first-person point of view. Readers are profoundly affected by Bibb's compelling account, which captures his unrelenting pursuit of freedom, his unyielding resiliency, and his dedication to social justice. This book has an Accelerated Reader (AR) Reading Level of 5.6, which equates to roughly a fifth-grade reading level.

The book has two objectives: to document Bibb's personal journey and to educate elementary school-aged readers about the atrocities of slavery. The perseverance of the human spirit and the unwavering desire for freedom are demonstrated by the author's choice of a first-person narrative. The writing challenges readers to face the tragic history of slavery and the violence and inhumane treatment that slaves faced through his vivid experiences.

This novel offers a helpful historical and social context.

Readers can become engrossed in Bibb's story thanks to the book's simple yet effective writing style. Each page is marked by his candour and truthfulness, which elicits a wide range of feelings. Readers may feel emotions from rage and anguish over the abuses he and others had to experience to admiration for his unwavering resolve.

This novel offers a helpful historical and social context in addition to Bibb's personal tale that could really benefit elementary school history classrooms. The story examines the wider effects of slavery in the United States, such as the dehumanisation of slaves and the underlying economic and cultural forces that supported the practise. Bibb crafts a gripping narrative that informs and enlightens readers by fusing personal experiences with historical background.

This book is strongly recommended to any young readers interested in African American history, the abolitionist movement, and the struggle for social justice. Readers are encouraged to consider the past and fight towards a more just and equitable future by highlighting the bravery and tenacity of individuals who battled oppression. The tale of Bibb forces us to face the lingering effects of slavery and take part in the abolition of oppressive systems.

Abolitionist and writer Henry Bibb (1815-1854) was born into slavery in Kentucky and managed to escape to Canada in 1841. Along with his autobiography Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb (1849), he also produced the significant anti-slavery journal The Voice of the Fugitive in 1851. In his works, Bibb exposed the atrocities of the institution and argued for social justice, becoming a vocal opponent of slavery. Discussions about racial equality and human rights are continually influenced and informed by his work as an abolitionist and his contributions to the anti-slavery struggle.

In Afua Cooper's novel, My Name Is Henry Bibb, readers have a unique and priceless chance to learn about the challenges, victories, and resiliency of a person who survived the atrocities of slavery. Afua Cooper is Professor of Sociology at Dalhousie University in Canada, specializing in the history of slavery and social justice. As this children's novel shows, her writing spans beyond academic work. A passion for justice and equality is sparked in readers by this children's novel and its call to confront the sad heritage of slavery. Readers are compelled by the compelling narration to not only watch his extraordinary journey but also actively take part in making the world a more welcoming and compassionate place.

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About the Reviewer

Manushree A
Passionate history enthusiast, storyteller, and advocate for preserving the lessons of the past. Also a skilled engineer passionate about innovation, problem-solving, and a drive to shape the world towards a better tomorrow.

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APA Style

A, M. (2023, June 05). My Name Is Henry Bibb: A Story of Slavery and Freedom. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

A, Manushree. "My Name Is Henry Bibb: A Story of Slavery and Freedom." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified June 05, 2023.

MLA Style

A, Manushree. "My Name Is Henry Bibb: A Story of Slavery and Freedom." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 05 Jun 2023. Web. 14 Apr 2024.