Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Bird in a Box

I did my last toddler story time before summer reading program begins (we take a two week break before SRP starts). Yikes! The summer will be here before we know it. I have a lot to do before then, so reviews will be short and sweet for the time being.

Bird in a Box

Any historical fiction that features African-American characters and is not set during slavery times or the civil rights era immediately gets my attention. Don't get me wrong; stories about slavery and the civil rights era are important, but it's crucial that we offer young readers other examples of the African-American experience.

Luckily, we now have Bird in a Box; through the eyes of three children, we experience the anticipation and excitement felt by African-Americans during Joe Louis's quest to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Although the children come from different backgrounds, they become connected through the Mercy Home for Negro Orphans (only two live at the orphanage) and their loyalty to the "Brown Bomber."

Although each child has experienced pain and/or sorrow in life, this is a positive story about healing, hope, friendship, and family. Andrea Davis Pinkney weaves historical details skillfully throughout the story; her incorporation is never awkward or overwhelming to the story. Although I am not normally a fan of multiple points of view in novels, she balances each child's story so that each child is fully drawn. This is an inspiring and heartfelt historical fiction read.

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