Andrea Davis Pinkney’s novel, Bird in a Box, revolves around the lives of three children – Otis, Willie, and Hibernia – and takes place during the Great Depression. The children’s lives are set to the backdrop of the famed boxer Joe Louis and his climb to the top of the boxing charts. At this time in 1936, it was unusual for an African-American to be recognized and celebrated as he was. Joe Louis represented hope and triumph for the African-American community, and for these three characters.

Below are links to some resources that will help readers to become familiar with the historical setting for Andrea Davis Pinkney’s story. Although the novel is fiction, it is inspired by her own family’s history and the 1930s.

Resources for more information

AFRICAN-AMERICAN ODYSSEY

Information on African-American economic struggles during the Great Depression

JOE LOUIS

The official site of Joe Louis with tons of information, including a fun fact sheet with Joe’s stats.

JIM CROW ERA

PBS takes a look at the Jim Crow era and highlights key events.

50 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE
Great Depression

A list of 50 facts that give insight into the Great Depression

Resources for more information

Download the Bird in a Box Educator Guide for help using this novel in the classroom.

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Resources for more information

If you are interested in having Andrea Davis Pinkney visit your school please contact via email for more information.

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