It might seem impossible that one man could bring together an entire community, but Joe Louis, the “Brown Bomber” of pounding punches and focused fighting, did just that. At the height of the Great Depression, Louis’ big fight warbled through just about every radio in America, and for the three kids in Andrea Davis Pinkney’s new novel, it changes their lives forever.
Bird in a Box is told through the voices of three youngsters in Elmira, New York, in the months leading up to the big fight. Hibernia, Otis and Willie, who come from different worlds, are thrown together by tough luck and the power of the True Vine Baptist Church. Each has lost someone, and each has a seemingly unobtainable dream. Their stories converge at the center of their world: the radio.
Through the voices of the children, Pinkney creates a triumphant tale of accidental friendships and repaired lives. An appendix adds interesting historical context on the “real people and real places” in the book. The stories of Hibernia, Otis and Willie, accompanied by the backdrop of the championship fight, will have young readers rooting for a win all the way to the end.