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Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
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This book is about a little girl with a brother who is deaf. It is set in the 1970s and deals with issues of racism and bullying. The main character is a girl named Frannie who attends a primarily black school in a primarily black community. A new boy starts coming to school who is white, and he faces bullying in school because of this. Throughout the book, Frannie deals with the way girls treat her good-looking, deaf brother, how she and other kids at school treat the new kid, and the reality of loss and fear within her own family with her mom having experienced miscarriages in the past and becoming pregnant again. This is an amazing book and a really good example of contemporary realistic fiction (or maybe historical fiction) because it deals with very real issues (bullying, love, loss, hope, racism) from the perspective of a little girl that many people can relate to. I would use this book to talk about any of the themes I just listed. Jacqueline Woodson is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
  jessicayambra | Feb 28, 2016 |
This story has a great beginning, but that's all it has. When the book ended I was left wondering, where's the rest? The book just ends after 100 pages. It read as if someone interrupted the author as she was typing and then as she was talking she accidentally sent in her manuscript not even half done. ( )
  EmilyRokicki | Feb 26, 2016 |
Frannie is a sixth grader who grapples with the meaning of Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Hope” is a Thing With Feathers. Throughout the story, she learns more about hope and what it means to her, her deaf brother, her best friend, the school bully, her mother, and the new kid at school. The new kid, who is nicknamed “Jesus Boy” by the bully, shocks everyone with his pale skin and long brown hair. He is a white student living on the “wrong side of the highway”; the only white student in an all-black school. Yet he has a calmness about him and a way of looking into the sky that confuses his classmates.

Frannie’s best friend Samantha hopes that Jesus Boy really is Jesus come down to Earth. Trevor, the school bully, masks his insecurities through his anger and prejudice towards the new student, hoping to hide behind his antagonism. Frannie’s brother Sean hopes to bridge the gap between his non-hearing world and the hearing world that everyone else belongs to. And Frannie’s mom hopes that this new pregnancy will not result in a miscarriage, like so many others before it.

This story adds insights into issues that so many of us deal with and try to make sense of in the world: race, faith, fear, belonging, and prejudice. ( )
  Msnem | Feb 15, 2016 |
Jacqueline Woodson always has a quiet, poetic way with words that speaks volumes. Classic Woodson!

There is a new boy in Frannie's class. No one understands why he's there; this is the black side of town and he's white. With his long hair, he looks like Jesus, and he is dubbed the Jesus Boy. No one's quite sure what to make of the Jesus Boy. He says he isn't white, that it's easier for his family to live on this side of town, and he has a confident calm about him despite the teasing he gets. Is he really Jesus? And if so, is that why Frannie is seeing things differently this winter: her mother's pregnancy, brother Sean's deafness, her friend Stephanie's religious attitudes, even the snowy weather?
( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I love this book for the voices it highlights and the complexity of the perspectives. The themes are also powerful. It's a great book to discuss and analyze with other thoughtful people. It isn't one of those books that I was riveted by or that I think about a lot afterwards though. That said I often wonder if Woodson wrote this book as a "speaking back" to Spinelli's Maniac Magee (whose depiction of race was so problematic). ( )
  NovelProfessor | Nov 14, 2015 |
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His coming into the classroom that morning was the only new thing.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399239898, Hardcover)

View our feature on Jacqueline Woodson's Feathers.

“Hope is the thing with feathers” starts the poem Frannie is reading in school. Frannie hasn’t thought much about hope. There are so many other things to think about. Each day, her friend Samantha seems a bit more “holy.” There is a new boy in class everyone is calling the Jesus Boy. And although the new boy looks like a white kid, he says he’s not white. Who is he?

During a winter full of surprises, good and bad, Frannie starts seeing a lot of things in a new light—her brother Sean’s deafness, her mother’s fear, the class bully’s anger, her best friend’s faith and her own desire for “the thing with feathers.”

Jacqueline Woodson once again takes readers on a journey into a young girl’s heart and reveals the pain and the joy of learning to look beneath the surface.



(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:36 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When a new, white student nicknamed "The Jesus Boy" joins her sixth grade class in the winter of 1971, Frannie's growing friendship with him makes her start to see some things in a new light.

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