Bird in a Box

Bird in a Box

By Andrea Davis Pinkney

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Friendship, Guidance/Health: Disability, Social Studies: African American Heritage

Grades: 3 – 7

In a small upstate New York town during the Great Depression, three children–Hibernia, Willie, and Otis–are about to meet.

Hibernia dreams of becoming a famous singer and performing at Harlem’s swanky Savoy Ballroom.
Willie is recovering from a tragedy that prevents him from becoming a junior boxing champ.
Otis spends every night glued to the radio, listening to the voices that remind him of Daddy and Ma.
Each of them is looking for hope, and they all find it in the thrilling boxing matches of young Joe Louis. They know Joe has a good chance of becoming the country’s next heavyweight champion. What they don’t know is that during this unforgettable year, the three of them will become friends.


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*”The artfully orchestrated novel is related with grace, restraint and a wealth of historical detail” –Kirkus, starred review

“Pinkney weaves quite a bit of 1930s history into her story and succeeds admirably in showing how Louis came to represent so much more than his sport. Her detailed notes make this an accessibly and inspiring piece of historical fiction that belongs in most collections” –School Library Journal

“Children who have graduated from Matt de la Pena and Kadir Nelson’s excellent A Nation’s Hope (2011) will be shown just how culturally significant louis really was with this stirring novel, which also scores high marks as a satisfying read for both boys and girls” –Booklist

“[A] well-researched historical novel” –Horn Book