Indeed I was, and in fact I think I enjoyed Bird in a Box much more because I HAD read A Nation's Hope. That background knowledge really made listening to this story much more interesting.
There are three young African American narrators in the story, Hibernia, Otis, and Willie. All three of them are going through personally traumatizing events, but they find solace in part through each other and in part in other ways, including the fights of Joe Louis. It's sort of fascinating how Joe Louis was such a huge part of the culture at that time. It's sort of like Michael Phelps in the Olympics, how everyone in the country was cheering for him and rallying around him, hoping he'd win and bring glory to the US. Michael Jordan was another athlete who had this kind of pull. But it's very few athletes who bring the whole country together like this. It's really interesting.
I thought this was a fabulous story, and fans of Christopher Paul Curtis are sure to love them. I wonder if some students will struggle with it if they don't have the historical background. Some readers may also struggle with the changing narrators, but listening to it on audio made that less of an issue for me.
Available at Multnomah County Library.