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's side. That's why it's so confusing when Jesus Boy shows up in class and says that he's not white, that his family moved from the other side of the highway because they didn't fit in there. Frannie's got a lot of thinking to do about building bridges and why you might want to experience someone else's world, to connect with someone totally different than you. Because really, when it comes down to it, we're all people.
A quiet, contemplative novel that fits perfectly in its snowbound setting, I'm thinking this book is a contender for some Newbery action. It has quite a message, but it doesn't bash you over the head with it. Frannie is a likeable, imperfect protagonist and Woodson paints peaceful pictures of warm family life, which juxtapose the tension felt by many of the characters.