Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

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“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.


About Jacqueline Woodson

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Jacqueline Woodson (www.jacquelinewoodson.com) is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the recipient of three Newbery Honor Awards for After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers and Show Way, and a two-time finalist for the National Book Award for Locomotion and Hush. Others awards include the Coretta Scott King Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Miracle's Boys. Her most recent novel, Beneath a Meth Moon, will be published spring 2012. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.E. B. Lewis (www.eblewis.com) has illustrated more than fifty picture books, including Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Talkin' About Bessie (by Nikki Grimes) and Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon (by Jacqueline Woodson). He taught art in public schools for twelve years, and currently teaches at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in Folsom, New Jersey.
Published January 8, 2009 by Speak. 140 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Feathers

Kirkus Reviews

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The theme of “hope” recurs in the description of the Black Power movement, and in Frannie’s musings on the Emily Dickinson poem, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” Developing this metaphor, Woodson captures perfectly the questions and yearnings of a girl perched on the edge of adolescence, a girl...

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Publishers Weekly

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The narrator of Woodson's 2008 Newbery Honor title is fascinated with Emily Dickinson's famous couplet “Hope is the thing with feathers/ that perches in the soul.” Frannie grapples with its meaning, especially after a white student joins her all-black sixth-grade classroom.

Jul 28 2008 | Read Full Review of Feathers

Common Sense Media

In school, there's a new white student in her all-black class, and her best friend thinks he might be Jesus, while the class bully can't seem to leave him alone.

Mar 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Feathers


Frannie's mother carries the sadness of having lost three children during pregnancy and infancy, but she lives in hope that her current pregnancy will result in a baby sibling for Frannie.

Mar 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Feathers

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