Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney

When my daughter was in 4th grade she took a district writing assessment. She scored well in every category except "voice." As a young mother and new librarian, I didn't really know what they meant by "voice." I went to the teacher to ask, and didn't get a very satisfactory explanation. Hundreds of book reviews later (I have now written over 200 book reviews for SLJ alone) I think I know what "voice" is, and this book has it in abundance. This is a historical fiction about three kids, Hibernia, Willie, and Otis, who live in Depression Era New York state. All them them have dreams and all are dealing with issues at home. The thing that brings them together is listening to the Joe Lewis fights on the radio. There is not a whole lot of plot to the story, but the children's voices are so real, interesting and sympathetic, the reader can't help but feel invested in the story. One thing I like about the story is that even though the children are black, living in a black neighborhood, the book is not about overcoming racism. It is just a glance into the life of some kids who develop a friendship and overcome their challenges. (278 p)

P.S. In case you are wondering if there is any relation, Andrea is the wife of well known author and illustrator, Brian Pinkney.


  1. Was it really so early that my teachers started having issues with my "voice"? I know it happened in high school, but at that time I was enough of a teenager to think that they just didn't understand the way I talked normally...
    In my college writing class, on the other hand, I got complimented on my voice. I wonder what happened.

  2. You have become a better writer, but I also wonder if your teachers are better at appreciating your writing.