Hibernia is a preachers daughter with a passion for singing. Otis is an orphan with a love for riddles. And Willie is a boxer with an abusive, alcoholic father. Otis and Willie end up in an orphanage and that is where these kids meet when Hibernia’s church choir sings for the orphans. The love of Joe Louis brings these stories together. The setting is 1936 during the height of the depression and the beginning of Joe Louis’ rise to Heavyweight Champion.
This was a nice historical story about the importance of Joe Louis to the African American community during this time. Each of the characters voices were interesting and distinctive. I really enjoyed all the references to the Joe Louis boxing matches and to the Harlem jazz and blues scene as the kids experienced them through the radio. This is a very upbeat story even when bad things are happening to the kids. I wish it would have been a little more serious at times but I enjoyed the joy of the ending.