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Download Bird in a Box Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Bird in a Box Audiobook, by Andrea Davis Pinkney
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (414 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney Narrator: Bahni Turpin, S'Von Ringo, J. B. Adkins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9780307917171
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In a small upstate New York town during the Great Depression, three children—Hibernia, Willie, and Otis—are about to meet. Hibernia dreams of becoming a famous singer and performing at Harlem’s swanky Savoy Ballroom. Willie is recovering from a tragedy that prevents him from becoming a junior boxing champ. Otis spends every night glued to the radio, listening to the voices that remind him of Daddy and Ma.

Each of them is looking for hope, and they all find it in the thrilling boxing matches of young Joe Louis. They know Joe has a good chance of becoming the country’s next heavyweight champion. What they don’t know is that during this unforgettable year, the three of them will become friends.

Award-winning and bestselling author Andrea Davis Pinkney masterfully tells a story of friendship and determination, set against the backdrop of America’s golden age of radio Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Powerful middle-grade novel…With tenderness and verve.”

    New York Times

  • “Pinkney enlivens potentially remote historical circumstances through her sympathetic characters who, despite the constraints of their era, struggle for dignity and human connection on their own terms.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Pinkney weaves quite a bit of 1930s history into her story and succeeds admirably in showing how Louis came to represent so much more than his sport. Her detailed notes make this an accessible and inspiring piece of historical fiction.”

    School Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 2/15/2014

    " This book gets off to a bit of a slow start, but when it comes together, it is captivating. Andrea Davis Pinkney creates characters with voice and appeal. I loved being drawn into their individual stories and their shared story. If you are a "character" reader, this book is for you! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth/Sr. Elizabeth | 2/7/2014

    " Great book about Joe Louis and the 1930s in this country. The three main characters - Hibernia, Otis, and Willie - have their share of struggles and dreams, just like Joe. This novel makes you care about what happens to them as their lives come together. Beautiful! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mandy | 2/4/2014

    " snore. Read for mock Newberry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Betsy | 1/20/2014

    " One Sentence Review: While two of the narratives in this book are expertly written, the third feels out-of-place and simplistic, dragging an otherwise good title down. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alicia | 1/16/2014

    " I enjoyed the setting of this book and time period, but I found the characters a bit dull. I listened to the audiobook, and probably would have enjoyed this story more as a physical read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ari | 1/13/2014

    " While Hibernia is annoying, she has a distinctive voice, in contrast to Otis and Willie, whom I kept mixing up. The voices of Otis and Willie blended together. I knew that one of them had scarred hands and that the other was an actual orphan but I could rarely remember who was who. Furthermore there was no character development, no growth in maturity and Otis was a saint. As it was Otis and Willie had to grow up fast, but then their growth stagnated. I'm not even sure why Hibernia was in the story to be perfectly honest. She wasn't living at the orphanage and I think her character would have been more interesting if she was actually an orphan and set off to pursue her dreams. I wasn't thrilled by the dialogue and descriptions either. Phrases such as "[i]t's as if a mighty hand is yanking the room to its feet." (pg. 253) and "Carmen turns her voice in popcorn blips. I backflip the melody into flatted riffs." (pg. 228) made the book seem like it was trying to hard to be creative with words. I don't even know what a 'flatted riff' is. The flashbacks were stiff and I didn't understand why the story couldn't just start at the beginning instead of a year later, as a teaser it was rather ineffective. Finally the narrative would abruptly end at points and never be revisited such as when *SPOILER, highlight to read*: The boys get the radio back from the bleach man. I refuse to believe the bleach man wouldn't know it was them, so why was no mention made of their punishment?*End spoiler* Occasionally the creative wording/descriptions worked well such as when Hibernia "put pepper on that tune." (pg. 227). I loved the details about the radio though. I really did get the impression that this was the "Golden Age of Radio" the commentators had personality and it was easy to see through the author's words how the radio programs affected the listeners. The variety of programs was shown ranging from jazz music, to of course, the Joe Louis fights. The other historical tidbits gel quite well with the fictional characters, places and events, there is a real sense of time and place. The illustrations were lovely, simple but expressive. The only character who became fully fleshed out (in my opinion) was Lila, the orphanage worker. She was a doll, tough when needed but always ready to give the children a hug, she has a tough past but doesn't wallow in depression. Although I would like to know why she randomly showed up at Hibernia's church... Bird in a Box left more questions in my mind than answers except when it came to the importance of radio during the 1930s. Storylines were abruptly ended and the three children had interesting backgrounds but remained flat with no development. I don't much about the 1930s but all the facts seemed to be in order to me, the town of Elmira, New York came to life. A town that was filled with people who wanted to work but couldn't find jobs and yet still mustered up the cheer to DRESS UP (I mean that in the best of ways) for church. Personally, I wish the story had actually taken place in the more exciting New York City but at least Elmira developed a presence in my mind (and I could understand Hibernia's frustration with the town). A hit or miss read I think "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharri | 1/12/2014

    " I made it to page 56 and could go no further, because I can't stomach graphic descriptions of child abuse, esp in a book meant for juveniles. Prior to that section, the book seemed well written and the characters and plot were interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie | 1/10/2014

    " Fast paced and moving, if also purposeful and overwritten. I am becoming phobic of figurative language that draws attention to itself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ♥Emma♥ | 1/7/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book! It is really good!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lorelie | 10/31/2013

    " Wonderful story. Loved the voices of Otis, Willie and Hibernia. Warm, hopeful story about life during the depression, regardless of the terrible things that happen to the characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maureen | 10/29/2013

    " I couldn't get into this one! Some of my students said that it gets better but I haven't gone back to it yet. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracie | 10/20/2013

    " During the depression, three children are drawn together around Joe Louis's fight to become Heavy Weight Champion of the World. I enjoyed all the voices in this story, but I wanted a little more from each of them...maybe longer would have helped. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Louisa | 9/30/2013

    " A little too preachy historical kid fiction for my taste. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda Winkler | 8/30/2013

    " depression era kids seem hopeful despite extreme hardships. one child is abused by his father and ends up losing the use of his hands, so this book is definitely for older kids. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 7/31/2013

    " Excellent historical fiction with heart! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Edi Campbell | 5/12/2013

    " I really do think MG books can and should develop characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maxine | 2/20/2013

    " This was a perfect companion piece to Mighty Miss Malone (Curtis). I am putting Nation's Hope (de la Pena)on my to read list now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty | 5/18/2012

    " This is an awesome book! Can you say award winner? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 3/20/2012

    " Once I got the characters' chapters straight in my head, I LOVED this one. Historical fiction that feels like I'm right with it. Go Joe Go! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 1/27/2012

    " Some fun characters and a couple of moments of tragedy that are handled well, but I found this slow. I find boxing an unpleasant thing to think about, so there were things here I couldn't appreciate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki | 7/22/2011

    " A very sweet story of orphans and children missing a parent, Joe Louis and a Philco radio! Love Hibernia, Willie, Otis & Miss Lila. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 6/17/2011

    " I tried to like this book but I got tired of hearing about Joe Louis, even though I acknowledge the importance of him winning the boxing title to the black community. I also didn't like the switching back and forth between the three main characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Louisa | 6/16/2011

    " A little too preachy historical kid fiction for my taste. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly | 6/15/2011

    " Such a great example of young adult historical fiction. I wish I could read it with my students next year. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joann | 5/19/2011

    " liked the voices of each character "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth/Sr. Elizabeth | 5/3/2011

    " Great book about Joe Louis and the 1930s in this country. The three main characters - Hibernia, Otis, and Willie - have their share of struggles and dreams, just like Joe. This novel makes you care about what happens to them as their lives come together. Beautiful! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 5/1/2011

    " Once I got the characters' chapters straight in my head, I LOVED this one. Historical fiction that feels like I'm right with it. Go Joe Go! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janssen | 4/14/2011

    " I wanted to love this one especially after Gary Schmidt specifically recommended it to me but it just didn't do it for me. Fine but not amazing. "

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About the Author
Author Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea David Pinkney is the author of many award-winning books for children, many of which were collaborations with her husband, illustrator Brian Pinkney. She is also an editor at Scholastic. They live in Brooklyn with their two children.

About the Narrator

Bahni Turpin has won twenty-one AudioFile Earphones Awards and three prestigious Audie Awards for her audiobook narrations, and Publishers Weekly magazine named her Narrator of the Year for 2016. She is an ensemble member of the Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles. She has guest starred in many television series, including NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Six Feet Under, Cold Case, What about Brian, and The Comeback. Film credits include Brokedown Palace, Crossroads, and Daughters of the Dust. She is also a member of the recording cast of The Help, which won numerous awards.