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Bird in a Box Hardcover – April 12, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316074039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316074032
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,406,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful read and a great history for children and adults.
jackie
The way Pinkney infuses factual details and events of the era into the fictional storyline truly gives the story depth and importance.
Mosaic NYC
The author does an amazing job of capturing the hopes and dreams of a generation.
girlswithbooks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mosaic NYC on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marcia Popp on March 2, 2013
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.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DAC VINE VOICE on May 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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.
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By jackie on February 15, 2014
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.
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By Twigi on December 8, 2013
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.
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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.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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