Start reading Bird in a Box on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Add Audible Narration

Bird in a Box Narrated by J. B. Adkins $21.00 $10.49
Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Bird in a Box [Kindle Edition]

Andrea Davis Pinkney , Sean Qualls
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.00
Kindle Price: $4.74
You Save: $2.26 (32%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $10.49 when you buy the Kindle book.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $4.74  
Hardcover, Bargain Price $6.80  
Paperback $6.92  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $17.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged $27.00  
Multimedia CD --  
Children's Valentine's Day Books
Visit the Children's Valentine's Day Bookstore to find sweet stories to enjoy with family and friends.

Book Description

Otis, Willie, and Hibernia are three children with a lot in common: they've all lost a loved one, they each have secret dreams, and they won't stop fighting for what they want. And they're also a lot like their hero, famed boxer Joe Louis. Throughout this moving novel, their lives gradually converge to form friendship, family, and love. Their trials and triumphs echo those of Joe Louis, as he fights to become the heavyweight boxing champion.

Andrea Pinkney masterfully weaves in factual information about Joe Louis and actual radio commentary from his fights, enriching the narrative of this uniquely rendered and beautifully written novel.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andrea Pinkney is the author of many award-winning books for children. Many were collaborations with her husband, illustrator Brian Pinkney. She is also an editor at Scholastic. They live in Brooklyn with their two children.

Sean Qualls is the illustrator of a number of celebrated books for children, including Before John Was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatherford, for which he received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, and Dizzy by Jonah Winter, an ALA Notable Book, a Kirkus Best Book, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. He has also illustrated Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison and her son Slade and Giant Steps to Change The World by Spike and Tonya Lee, which will be published in January 2011. Sean lives with his wife, illustrator Selina Alko, and their two children in Brooklyn, NY.

Product Details

  • File Size: 9619 KB
  • Print Length: 267 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316074020
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0047Y0FLY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,817 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!! September 20, 2011
This historical tale takes you back to a time when America was struggling to release itself from the devastating hold of The Great Depression. The way Pinkney infuses factual details and events of the era into the fictional storyline truly gives the story depth and importance. A must read!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Great Depression, life in an African-American orphanage in the 1930s, and the meteoric rise of the great boxer, Joe Louis, create a context to introduce three exceptional children, each of whom face challenges associated with the loss of a parent or parents. Their interactions with each other and the manner in which they address their individual challenges reflect exceptional writing and storytelling ability. There are scenes of violence, associated with orphanage life and the physical abuse of one of the children, but the redemptive nature of the full storyline lends an aura of hope at the conclusion. As someone who remembers radio days and the effect of Joe Louis on America, I hear this story ringing true historically. And as a teacher of many years, I can also say that these are real children, displaying the exceptional survival skills that many children have, despite the brutal conditions of their existence.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not For Me May 8, 2011
The story takes place in 1936,during the middle of the great depression. The three main characters, are 12yr old Otis, Willie and Hibernia. At the beginning the three have yet to meet. All of them are fans of Joe Louis. The author enterwines some of the fights throughout the story. With so much going wrong the great fighter gives the three someone to hope and believe in.

Hibernia lives with her father a reverend. Her mother left to follow her dream to sing at the Savoy. Willie is forced to leave home after a terrible incident with his abusive father. Soon Otis must go live at Mercy Home For Negro Orphans as well. That's where the two meet.

The chapters alternate between the three characters. Sometimes this can be tricky, especially when dealing with more then two characters. The author runs the risk of not developing the characters or storylines enough. After one characters scene would end, I'd still have questions. When the story returned to that particular character, it was already onto something new.

After the last awful encounter with his father, Willie goes to live at Mercy. When he arrives Lily, the woman working there, tells him he needs some salve. The next time Willie appears there's drastic change without an explanation. The salve didn't work. This happens more then once. It felt like I was missing important parts of the story. Hibernia's father is set in his ways and very strict. Yet one day he simply decides to open up and talk about Hibernia's mother. Again, I wondered about the why of this.

The characters voices were blending together. I think part of it had to do with the short chapters, but I had a difficult time distinguishing between Otis and Willie.

Pinkney has a great body of work. All the books I've read by her I've loved. I went into Bird in a Box (a book I was really looking forward to ) wondering not if but how much I would enjoy it. So I was surprised, that it simply didn't work for me.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Good characters and contrast February 15, 2014
By jackie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great little book about three lives converging at a time and place in history. Three children that are in relative isolation are connected through a thread of boxing history. A wonderful read and a great history for children and adults.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Bird in a box December 8, 2013
By Twigi
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a great book. I would tell my friends to read it also. I would like to read as mother book by this author.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think this would be enjoyed by middle school students, and give them background knowledge of the cultural and generational type, as well as help them understand the metaphores, etc. in the crafting of a story.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Fighting adversity with boxing gloves! June 21, 2011
Let's go, mighty Joe,
Battle like the Alamo,
Hey, hey, mighty Joe,
Time to bomb `em - there you go!
Go, go, mighty Joe!
Get `em good - there you go.

Elmira, New York, 1937 - hope was in short supply, especially if you were African American. The Great Depression had hit hard. Then, Joe Louis came along. As Andrea Davis Pinkney explains in her author's note "When Joe Louis defeated James J. Braddock on June 22, 1937, to become the heavyweight champion of the world, the event instilled overwhelming pride in the hearts of African Americans ..."

Willie and Otis live at the Mercy Home for Negro Orphans. Willie has a secret - he's not really an orphan, well at least not in the true meaning of the word. He's emotionally orphaned by a drunken father who went too far. His mother sent him away for his own safety. Otis, on the other hand, comes from a loving family. His daddy was fond of telling riddles. His family laughed together -until the day their truck and a hay truck made impact and his parents were lost forever. All he has left of his parents is his dad's beloved Philco radio. Hibernia "Bernie" is the daughter of the Reverend C. Elias Tyson, of the True Vine Baptist Church. Shortly after she was born, Hibernia's momma took off for New York City, in search of fame and fortune at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. The good reverend won't admit it to Bernie, but he's intently following Joe Louis' exploits on the radio he's nicknamed "Speaky".

My favorite character in this story is Lila Weiss, who works at the Mercy Home - the white lady with the "onion bunions". She reminds Mr. Sneed, the owner of the home, that the children in their care are orphans, not delinquents and they need love and friendship like any other child.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars So-So
Bird in a Box had the potential to be great. It takes place during The Depression, one of the more interesting times in our nation's history because of the sheer desperation so... Read more
Published on August 17, 2011 by ReadingVacation
3.0 out of 5 stars Boxing, singing and the Great Depression
In the middle of the Great Depression, there are three children from different backgrounds that are about to meet. They do have some things in common, dreams, loss and Joe Louis. Read more
Published on June 21, 2011 by Brittany Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving story about falling down and getting back up again...
I cannot believe this book isn't getting more buzz! I honestly didnt even hear about it, until I happened to stumble upon it in my library's "New Books" section. Read more
Published on June 17, 2011 by Violet Baudelaire
5.0 out of 5 stars An ode to the human spirit
Otis, Hibernia and Willie are three African-American 12-year olds coming of age in Depression-era upstate New York. Read more
Published on May 25, 2011 by KidsReads
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book
Hibernia sure can sing. She loves to belt out songs just like her mama, who left many years ago seeking to perform in the nightclubs of Harlem. Willie is a boxer. Read more
Published on May 25, 2011 by Cynthia Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book!
Bird in a Box is wonderful new book targeted for the 9-12 year old tween age group. Unline many books in this genre, Bird in a Box, is wonderfully heartfelt, sincere and full of... Read more
Published on May 3, 2011 by Kindle Customer
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category