Saturday, March 14, 2009
Feathers, written by Jacqueline Woodson, tells the story of Frannie and her life in the early 1970's. This book touches so many themes that it would be a wonderful addition to every school library media center collection. Frannie's story has a multitude of characters from Trevor, the class bully, and Samantha her church-going friend, to Jesus Boy, the new white kid in an all black school, and her deaf brother Sean. Also, Frannie's mother is pregnant and the rest of her family worries about this pregnancy as they remember previous miscarriages. All the characters in the book share a common thread in that they have the thing with feathers - hope, and the desire to move forward. The book also addresses the end of segregation, but the characters note the continued separation and refer to the "white side of the highway." I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me of growing up in the 60s and 70s with bell-bottoms, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and The Jackson 5. I would have been ten at the time and Frannie's life in the city was quite different compared to my life in the country. I also liked the fact that Woodson included a teacher, Ms. Johnson, that influenced Frannie and brought out the writer in this young character.