Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bird in a Box, Andrea Davis Pinkney

I was lucky enough to meet Andrea Davis Pinkney this fall when I went to Minneapolis for the American Association of School Librarians where she spoke. And when I heard she wrote a book that was about Joe Louis, I became even more excited because you may remember that I learned a lot about Joe Louis earlier in the year when I read a picture book by Matt de la Peña and Kadir Nelson called A Nation's Hope which I reviewed here. I thought it would be super cool to pair these two books up, and I was eager to find out if I was right.

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.

No comments: