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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  3,153 ratings  ·  646 reviews
"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�is not white. Who is he?


Hardcover, 118 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Putnam Juvenile
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Newbery Medal Honor Books
45th out of 306 books — 244 voters
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African American Books for Teens
24th out of 155 books — 154 voters

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Claire Scott
Feb 13, 2008 Claire Scott rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Claire by: Kirsten Brodbeck
I had high hopes for this book, so my two stars may be more reflective of my disappointment than of the book's overall quality.

It's 1971 and Frannie lives with her Deaf brother, her often-absent (but loving) father, and her pregnant mom on the black side of the tracks. She worries a lot: about her mom, who has already lost babies to miscarriages, about her handsome brother, who's scorned by hearing girls, about her best friend, who's becoming increasingly religious, and about the new kid in her...more
This is written like water, falling. It seems so perfectly effortless, and so beautiful. Frannie, at 11 and a half in 1971, is caught by the Emily Dickinson line, "Hope is the thing with feathers."

There's a new boy in Frannie's class. Her mother, who has lost a few babies, is pregnant again. Her adored older brother is handsome and smart and deaf. Her best friend wants her to believe in Jesus and be saved. Frannie's clear sweet voice takes this all in, and lets it out for us, a feather on the br...more
Jacqueline Woodson’s Feathers was the winner of a 2008 Newbery Nomination. Set in first person narrative the story tells about fifth grader Frannie and the affect that a poem read at school has on her. ‘Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune-without the words, and never stops at all. “-Emily Dickinson

The book has many layers. The underlying theme is dealing with inter-personal relationships involving both family and friends. Relationships are challenged whe...more
Abby Johnson
Hope is the thing with feathers...

Frannie's class is studying this poem and it's really gotten her thinking. She has a lot to hope for... She hopes that her mama won't lose the new baby growing inside her. She hopes that the hearing girls will stop making moves on her deaf brother only to turn away when they find out he can't hear.

Set in the winter of 1971 there's still a lot of segregation. All the white people live on one side of the highway and the black people live on the other side, Frannie...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book had a gentleness to it suggested by the title and the cover illustration. Its two themes were hope and acceptance of others no matter what their differences, or recognizing what we all have in common. I especially liked the inclusion of a deaf character and an adopted character, both of whom feel excluded from the world or limited in the extent of their world. This book could provide plenty of food for discussion in a classroom. Its setting in the 1970s sent me on a trip to the past, w...more
Jacqueline Woodson is one of my favorite authors. Feathers is a gem of a book. The book spans only a short period of time, but in that time Frannie realizes the world isn't as black and white as she thought. Woodson's lyrical prose makes this character driven novel a beautiful and poignant book.
Kay Mcgriff
Feathers (Puffin Books 2007) is a quiet book packed with the power of hope. You know hope--the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. Jacqueline Woodson weaves this snippet of poetry from Emily Dickinson throughout Frannie's story, and in reading it, I find that hope is weaving its way into my thinking, too.

Frannie has much to hope for--or worry about--that snowy winter in the 1970s when she is eleven. Mean girls make fun of her older brother Sean because he is deaf. Her mother is pregnan...more
Ms Mac
Feathers by Jaqueline Woodson

Frannie likes her neighbourhood, where she and her family have everything they need. She doesn't like how people treat her brother, Sean, when they find out he's deaf, or the way the class bully, Robert, takes out his anger on everybody else. And one day, a strange boy-the Jesus Boy, the only white boy in their school, joins her class.

Feathers, like its protagonist, is gentle and thoughtful. It's a book where not a lot actually happens, but it doesn't happen beautif...more
"Some days," I said, "I just want to know we're all gonna be all right." This has to be my favorite line from Jacqueline Woodson's Feathers. I have a special fondness for Emily Dickinson's work in general but especially for the poem celebrated by this novel. This is such a great middle grade novel because of all paths the reader can follow. I think there are aspects that are familiar and will resonate with lots of readers as well as some new ideas not often explored by characters in novels for t...more
I remember the first time I went white water rafting. From the shoreline, at the place where the boats were being put in, the river didn't amount to much. The water was smooth and the current was slow. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to, nor did I know of the ferocity of the rapids further down the river. The river would surprise me.

At one point on our trip down the river, our guide mentioned the water's depths. A river can deceive you with it's dark water; the murky, dark water makes...more
Katherine Rushforth Nelson

There is a new boy in school, and he is the only white boy. Children in the class tease the white boy and tell him to go back to where he came from. One student gives him the nickname of Jesus boy and he asks the teacher to start calling him that. So the students begin to as well. As the students make Jesus boy feel unwelcome he begins to cry and says that his father said that the kids in this school would be nice to him, because on the other side of the "line" (highway dividing w...more
Text Summary
Eleven-year-old Frannie lives on the side of the highway where the black families live. Frannie’s older brother, Sean, often wonders and even dreams of the possibilities of building bridges and crossing over to the other side of the highway: “Imagine if there was a bridge from every single window in the world to some whole new place. That would be crazy wouldn’t it? It would mean we could all just step out of our worlds into these whole new ones.” Sean is deaf and feels “trapped” in...more
Rory M.
Mar 12, 2009 Rory M. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children of the 1970's
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2008 Cathy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pre-teens, kids that feel different
Recommended to Cathy by: Professor Nana
Shelves: youngadult
I heard Jacqueline Woodson speak and recite her work at NCTE and I'm officially changing my stars. When Woodson read, the sparseness of her prose actually became poetry. This is a heart book, a catch in my throat book and a reflection of the current climate of hope and bridges. I think the prose is sparse like little vignettes and every so often a line will catch at my throat and as thin as this book is, I find myself stopping and rereading. I think my 4th grade self, that preteen, unjaded, lone...more
I really enjoyed the language of this book. It features Frannie, her deaf brother Sean, her best friend Samantha, snooty Maribel, mean / light-skinned / troubled Trevor, and the new light-skinned (white?) kid in her class that they call Jesus Boy.
I had high hopes and it started out great. It sunk a little for me on p. 43 when Frannie thinks that if Jesus came back into the world, she would ask about... hope. Hope?
I know it's the theme of the book and the title came from a Dickinson metaphor, bu...more
Davina Cuffee
1. Junior Book-Historical Fiction

2. Frannie reflects on her life and starts to make a change. She seeks hope in this journey of change.

3a. Diversity

3b. I really like this book because every time I’ve read a book about someone moving into another culture, it’s always a black person moving into a white neighborhood (I’m not saying it hasn’t happened in a book before). Now, after reading this book, I like the diversity of the book.

3c. This book is filled with all kinds of topics from Frannie being...more
I didn't expect to love this after not really getting into Woodson's After Tupac and D Foster. But this one I loved! It's such a soft, sweet, hopeful story. Its theme, from the poem by Emily Dickinson: "Hope is the thing with feathers" fits it perfectly. I especially loved Frannie and her interactions with her family and friends. And its setting of the 1970s adds some fun touches. I highly recommend this quiet little Newbery Honor book.

I really liked what Frannie's dad said when Frannie was worr...more
Living in this side of the highway, and not having the chance to see the other side
was ok with frannie but it wasn't ok with her brother
I liked this brother more than frannie herself(:

Anyway, the whole story was talking about this strange white boy,
the only white boy who showed up at Price school.
and all the kids started calling him "Jesus"

His mom and dad were black, how come?
It was a mistry to be solved

I couldn't see how this part of the story was connected to all the hope and feathers thing.

Destinee Sutton
Good audiobook in terms of the narrator. The story is much more character-driven than plot-driven, though, so I probably would've liked it better if I'd read it with my eyes. (Since I started listening to more audiobooks, I've decided that action-packed stories are better to listen to.)

Frannie is an everykid with a deaf brother, a devout Christian best friend, and super nice parents. She's growing up in the early 1970s in a racially divided town. A white boy joins her class at school and all th...more
Kelly Rae :)
This book is very good :) She worries a lot: about her mom, who has already lost babies to miscarriages, about her handsome brother, who's scorned by hearing girls, about her best friend, who's becoming increasingly religious, and about the new kid in her class, a white (maybe?) kid that all the other students call "Jesus Boy" because of his long hair and pale skin Its very hopeful and it can teach you a lot about how to not worry about so much little things and worry about the biggest things in...more
Amy Brown
This book takes place in the 1970s although the time period doesn't play a huge role in the story. The book starts with an Emily Dickinson poem and returns to the theme "Hope is the thing with feathers," the first line in that poem. I liked this book and I guess it could win the Newbery but I personally wouldn't give it that award.

Frannie has a lot going on in her life, her brother is deaf and sometimes people make fun of him, her mom is pregnant but she has already lost three babies before, an...more
Kelly Tannhauser
This book takes place in the early 1970's. Frannie, the main character, a little girl, lives with her parents and deaf older brother Sean. Where they lived there were no white people, and Frannie didnt really noticed until a boy showed up in her 6th grade class and was tall and white. His white skin got him the nick name "Jesus Boy" because the other children thought he resembled Jesus. He gets made fun of a lot and Frannie becomes interested in him and is intrigued that he knows sign language,...more
Frannie is a sixth-grader in 1971 and her class has studied the poem of Emily Dickinson that starts with "Hope is a thing with feathers." All through the winter, Frannie learns her own definition of hope. Her brother is deaf, but not stupid as she tells everyone; her mother is pregnant again and maybe she won't miscarry this time; there is a new boy in her class... all these circumstances teach her a little more about hope.

Why I picked it up: Newbery honor book and Book Club selection.

Why I fini...more
Kate Hastings
Mar 05, 2008 Kate Hastings rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grades 5-8 realistic fiction
Shelves: middle-school
A quiet book. Definitely artistic language. Frannie goes to school on the black side of town. Her older brother is deaf, and her best friend is a preacher's daughter. Frannie is worried about her mother, who has lost three children--one to premature death and two to miscarriage.

School is school. There is a bully and a snotty girl who thinks she's better than everyone. And then one day a white boy arrives at school. He's so different and peaceful. People start calling him Jesus Boy. Could he be?

Emily Barnes
Aug 14, 2014 Emily Barnes rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: age 9+ kids who are ready to see complexities in race
This is a quiet book for middle grades readers that might not grab you right away. The second time I picked it up, though, I stuck with it. This time around I liked it a lot, and I read it rather quickly. Probably too quickly. I get the sense that if I slowed down and really savored Woodson's language, I would see more of the beauty. Just finished it, so this isn't really a review, but a collection of first thoughts on finishing the book:

-The setting is unique and some other reviewers have quest...more
This is a short novel set in "post segregation" early 1970s, in an urban area that remains quite segregated after all. The story's narrator is Frannie, who is in sixth grade at an all-black middle school. One of the plots is introduced in chapter one when a mysterious white boy enrolls at the school. There are other plots involving peer relationships, girl drama, bullies, and family. For a short book, maybe there were too many subplots. Some of the narration and dialogue didn't ring true coming...more
May 04, 2014 Stephanie added it
Shelves: contemporary
Jacqueline Woodson’s Feathers takes place in an urban all African American school in the 1970’s. A white student comes to the school and causes tension and misunderstandings amongst the students. The new boy is called “Jesus Boy” because of his white skin and long hair. Frannie, a fellow sixth grade student is intrigued by Jesus Boy and befriends him because she knows what it feels like to not fit in. Trevor, the sixth grade class bully does not like Jesus Boy because he is the only other studen...more
"Somedays, I just want to know we're all gonna be all right" (page 115). This is the sentence that finally connected me to young Frannie though I saw shades of myself in her. It took the entire book to get there.
Super easy read, fascinating plot, and relatively enjoyable. Probably took about an hour to read and I enjoyed the various deep, meaningful passages hidden within the story, like when Frannie's father tells her to just be happy even "if it means you get to be happy for a month or two mon...more
This book is deeper than me, and I like that. I wish it were listed as middle grade instead of YA because I am always sad about how young the narrators are and how short the books are, but that's not Woodson's fault.

Anyway, it is about expectations and hope and love. And it is kind of awesome with the things it says and how quietly its says them. Great characters.
A slice-of-life book showing Frannie, her deaf brother Sean, her pregnant mother, her religious friend Samantha, the class bully Trevor, and the new boy who is dubbed the Jesus Boy. Ultimately, the theme is hope. A nice book, but I couldn't get too excited over it.
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I used to say I’d be a teacher or a lawyer or a hairdresser when I grew up but even as I said these things, I knew what made me happiest was writing.

I wrote on everything and everywhere. I remember my uncle catching me writing my name in graffiti on the side of a building. (It was not pretty for me when my mother found out.) I wrote on paper bags and my shoes and denim binders. I chalked stories a...more
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“The sign for believe flashed into my head—the way Sean signed it—his pointer finger against the side of his head like he’s saying “think,” then his hands coming together—like the sign for marry. I stood there thinking, for the first time, about how perfect that word was—to have a thought in your head and then to marry it, to take it into your heart forever . . . “I can’t believe” 0 likes
“wasn’t afraid of dying because dying had always been somewhere in our house, somewhere so close, we could feel the wind of it on our cheeks.” 0 likes
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