image description "Let’s go, mighty Joe.
Battle like the Alamo.
Hey, hey, mighty Joe.
Time to bomb ‘em – there you go!
Go, go, mighty Joe!
Get ‘em good – there you go."
A powerful novel about hardship and hope from award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Otis, Willie, and Hibernia are three children with a lot in common: they've all lost a loved one, they each have secret dreams, and they won't stop fighting for what they want. And they're also a lot like their hero, famed boxer Joe Louis. Throughout this moving novel, their lives gradually converge to form friendship, family, and love. Their trials and triumphs echo those of Joe Louis, as he fights to become the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion.

Andrea Davis Pinkney masterfully weaves in factual information about Joe Louis and actual radio commentary from his fights, enriching a uniquely rendered and beautifully written novel.


image description

Andrea Pinkney is the author of many award-winning books for children, including Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down. Many were collaborations with her husband, illustrator Brian Pinkney. She is also an editor at Scholastic. They live in Brooklyn with their two children.


Sean Qualls is the illustrator of a number of celebrated books for children, including Before John Was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatherford, for which he received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, and Dizzy by Jonah Winter, an ALA Notable Book, a Kirkus Best Book, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Sean lives with his wife, illustrator Selina Alko, and their two children in Brooklyn, NY.


"The artfully orchestrated novel is related with grace,
restraint and a wealth of historical detail."
"I love this book. It’s like looking through a zoom lens to the 1930s, with three compelling characters who make the past both immediate and intimate. I’ll be pestering everyone I know to read Bird in a Box!" —LINDA SUE PARK, Newbery Award–winning author of A Single Shard and The Kite Fighters
"Bird in a Box is a story about strength that stands up even after being knocked to the mat; it is a story about love climbing into the ring when all the odds are against it. This is a story lovingly told of hope in a broken world that desperately needs something to hope for." —GARY D. SCHMIDT, Newbery Honor author of The Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
"Bird in a Box will break, heal, and then fill your heart all in one reading." –GRACE LIN, Newbery Honor author of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Year of the Dog