Chelsea Couillard-Smith's Reviews > Bird in a Box

Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney
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's review
Jun 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: middle-grade-fiction
Read in June, 2011

I was completely charmed by this book. 3 young kids in depression-era Harlem, 2 in an orphanage and 1 living along with her preacher father, struggle to make their dreams come true. For Hibernia, that means convincing her dad that allowing her to become a famous singer is really God's will. For Otis, it's finding a place in the world after the tragic death of his loving parents. And for Willie, it's adjusting to the double loss of his mother, who sent him out in the world to escape his abusive father, and boxing, his great love, now no longer viable because his father has severely burned his hands in an act of malice. I had a few quibbles with the story, including a stark difference in Hibernia's character from the chapters in which she's narrating to those in which others are narrating about her, but I just loved reading this book. The stories intertwine around boxing champion Joe Louis's triumphs and losses, culminating in his famous win over a Nazi-sympathizing German fighter. Pinkney breathes life and depth into that era, particularly in the ways she handles the radio broadcasts and their importance to so many characters. I really highly recommend this one - the characters will stick with you, and you'll be drawn in from beginning to end.

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