Friday, March 20, 2009

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

I wasn't sure what to think when I started reading Feathers. I knew it was a book for children and that it was a Newbery Honor book, but that was all I knew. I'm going to be honest, I'm still not sure what to tell you all it was about. I suppose the best I could tell you was that it was about hope.

Hope is the thing with feathers

That is the beginning of the poem "Hope" by Emily Dickenson. It is the poem that starts the story and starts Frannie thinking about hope. Frannie was the main character of the story that takes place in the 70's amid times of racial tension - and hope. Her brother Sean is deaf but communicates flawlessly through sign language. It was nice to hear his voice in the story. Her parents are loving and warm - which is always nice. They've gone through rough times as a family, after her mother lost a couple babies and one died young.

A new boy comes into the school and he happens to be white. He's described as pale, blond, and extremely different from all the other children in the school. He's nicknamed Jesus Boy and we never do learn his real name. He's mysterious and Frannie is drawn to him.

Each of the characters is searching for hope. Sean hopes for a bridge to the hearing world, Frannie's mother hopes for a healthy pregnancy, her best friend, Samantha, hopes for the real Jesus to return. I can't pinpoint exactly what Frannie wants except to say that she hopes for all the people in her life to be happy and content around her.

This is a lovely little story that really makes you think about what you hope for. I recommend this to anyone -because we all need hope.

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