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The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Eleven-year-old Frances is an observer of both nature and people, just like her idol, the anthropologist Margaret Mead. She spends most of her time up on the rocks behind her house in her "rock world," as Alvin, her kindhearted and well-read school bus driver, calls it. It's the one place where Frances can truly be herself, and where she doesn't have to think about her old ...more
Hardcover, 197 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Schwartz & Wade Books
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Ms. Yingling
Copy graciously provided by the publisher upon request
Frances (who refers to herself as Figgrotten because she likes the way it sounds) has some quirky personality features, including an immense love of nature that causes her to fill her room with branches and sleep with the windows open even in the winter. These quirks irritate her older sister, Christinia, who becomes increasingly antagonistic toward her. Since others also find Frances a bit off putting, this desertion is particularly hard. Lu
Laura Gardner
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 for THE HEART AND MIND OF FRANCES PAULEY by #AprilStevens. I received this book in exchange for a review on the MA youth services blog. All opinions are my own.
Figgrotten, a white fifth grader whose real name is Frances, lives a lonely life. Her best friend is Alvin, the elderly, contemplative bus driver who drives her to school, she has no friends her own age, she is estranged from her older sister and she spends her afternoon on the rocks behind her house trying to befriend t
Eleven-year-old Frances Pauley finds school especially hard this year. Francis prefers to call herself Figgrotten, and she draws inspiration from the example of anthropologist Margaret Mead as she observes the world around her and her classmates. She even has a poster of Lucy, a four-million year old skeleton, in her room, and her interests are nothing like anyone else's in her small town. Not only is Francis different from her classmates because of how she likes to spend her free time, but her ...more
I absolutely had no desire to even read this book when I learned of her self-given nickname (Figgrotten), which is never really explained.
But I am glad I kept on with it because it was a very sweet story of a young girl who is awkward and prefers to be alone, but is very smart. It encompasses a variety of subjects that she has to contemplate and see how she feels about- death of a friend, a new student who she doesn't like, finding out someone is gay, her sister telling lies about her, boyfrien
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A gorgeous, gorgeous book.
Diane Magras
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, realism
Figgrotten, as Frances Pauley has named herself, is a kid that certain young readers will instantly connect with. She’s odd, but in ways that kids like her will understand and appreciate, as there’s really no one like her in #kidlit. She’s brilliant, and extremely sensitive. She loves doing her homework, yet spends a lot of time staring out the window at school, daydreaming about being outside. She loves the outdoors, and feels in her place there. A particular spot up in the rocks is her safe pl ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley from start to finish and already have 3 people that I can't wait to share it with. Frances (or Figgrotten as she prefers) is a 6th grader who loves nature and science and is a great observer of people - though she keeps most at a distance. After suffering the ire of her classmates from answering too many questions, Figgrotten has learned to hide her brilliance from most people with the exception of her thoughtful bus driver and encouragi ...more
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Frances (who calls herself "Figgrotten") feels different from the other fifth graders in her class, and from her very normal acting family. She can hardly stand to be indoors, and spends as much time as possible in the rocky hills behind her house, where she studies the world and thinks about her place in it. When her only friend, her 83-year old school bus driver/philosopher Alvin dies, Frances feels lost, and must decide whether she is happy alone, or whether she should take the hands that are ...more
Jo Oehrlein
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: autism-spectrum
Figgrotten seems real, with all the bad and good feelings that kids have. I liked how she got to feel them -- the sadness, the jealousy, the sibling issues, but that she also managed to work through them. Well, the sadness (at least the sadness due to grief) is going to be there for a while, but.....

Mr. Stanley is a tribute to amazing teachers everywhere and how even amazing teachers can't get it right all the time for all kids.

Kudos to Fiona and her mom for reaching out to Figgrotten and to Fig
Heidi Burkhart
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A remarkably innocent book, for this day and age, about a young girl who is sensitive, academic and doesn't fit in. She learns through experiences, both good and painful, that she is a good person who no longer has to live life from the outside looking in.

The perfect audience would be girls from 4th-7th grade. For those kids who struggle with growing and change it would give them hope that life will get better.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Middle grade novel about a quirky middle schooler dealing with school, family, learning to form friendships, and growing up. The pacing was a bit slow, and the repeating of the main characters self given nickname every few sentences got old, but as a quick read, it made a good audio book to listen to at work.
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley, April Stevens weaves a heartfelt story about siblings, friendship, and coping with loss and grief. Figgrotten is a new character to love.
Destinee Sutton
A quiet story about a memorable kid on the edge of becoming more self-aware. Frances Pauley calls herself Figgrotten though nobody else does (it reminded me of George because the close third person narration describes the main character as she sees herself, not necessarily as the world sees her).

Figgrotten is beautifully (enviably) un-self-conscious when the story begins. She wears the same thing every day and just wants to be outside all the time observing nature. Her favorite person is the ve
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an enjoyable read about Frances aka Figgrotten as she works to find herself. She is in 7th grade and she is struggling with her identity. Her stable home life has allowed her to grow up expressing her individuality and she is successful as an outdoor enthusiast and budding life scientist or possibly social scientist. Early teen years are difficult to negotiate as Figgrotten soon learns. Her sister is positively vicious and it hurts! Giggling, mean girls at school are knocking her confid ...more
Juliana Muñoz
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
At begining I was very excited about this book. The main character, Figrotten, was very interesting, lonely and particular. Her relationship with nature, wildlife and the school bus driver was great. But then it turned predictable... I just felt it very slow (some dialogues are forced and educational, not spontaneus).
I loved cover illustration by Sophie Blackall. I wish there were more drawings by her inside the book (not only the crows).
Carole McClung
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
I read this one aloud with my ten-year-old daughter this summer. We were both excited to continue the story each night. Figrotten is a compelling character. We laughed and cried and both loved the story.
This is about a young woman named Frances who has chosen to go by Figgrotten. Figgrotten is a bit different from the other students, and shy. Her best friend is the school bus driver. Her sister is starting to like boys. A new kid comes to her school. Everything is changing, and Figgrotten doesn't know what to do.

My only qualm about this book is it does seem Figgrotten changes a few things about herself to please other people, though she is happy with the changes. She's an interesting character
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leonard Kim
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Listened to audiobook. Really 3.5 stars, but this is another debut book and another book about a "quirky" girl yet largely manages to avoid the sins that often accompany both of those, so kudos for that. It's actually pretty impressive how fresh this felt since, on the one hand, the whole "quirky, smart, isolated girl discovers the importance of friendship and kindness" has been done to death. On another hand, this book doesn't fall into another common trap of over-celebrating Frances' quirks wi ...more
The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley is a love letter to kids with rich internal lives. The curious kids. The kids brave enough to be themselves. The observers. The thinkers. The creators. And really, don’t we wish that for all of our kids?

The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley is a mirror for introverts. A quiet, contemplative book in which we get to witness our Figgrotten (Frances to everyone else) struggle with many of life’s key challenges: love, loyalty, forgiveness, death, and how “(t)o be y
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a highly introspective middle-grade novel about a socially detached girl who, through trial and error, learns to engage with the world around her. Frances Pauley is probably the most quintessential Enneagram Type 4 character I have ever read: she has a rich interior life, full of imagination and possibilities, and becomes defensive towards anyone or anything that threatens her uniqueness and social positioning as the resident "quirky smart girl" of her school.

In this regard alone, The H
Allie Holler
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley written by April Stevens is an amazing book. This story is about a little girl names Frances who is in love with nature and people watching. She is one of a kind, dresses differently than her classmates and isolated. She gave herself a nickname “Figgrotten”. Major event in the plot make Frances grow up and understand why certain incidents happened and how to cope with her feelings. Another amazing book that was published in 2018. One strength this book has is the ...more
Kelsey Buckley
Frances (or Figgrotten as she prefers) is an observer who looks up to anthropologist, Margaret Mead. She is on the quirky side and spends most of her time in her rock world. She has grown apart from her older sister, and her bus driver, Alvin, is one of her closest friends. When something happens, her world is shaken and she realizes that maybe connecting with others around her isn't such a bad thing.

I liked how the book explored finding one's identity and connecting with others. There are so m
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Stevens, April The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley, 196 pages. Schwartz and Wade Books (Random House), 2018. Content: Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: G.

Frances Pauley is an eleven year old who is quirky and loves nature. Frances’ teenage sister, Christina is embarrassed by Frances. Christina is going through an emotional roller coaster as a teen, with friend problems and she likes a boy. Christina’s behavior confuses Frances and Frances has her own hardships to deal with. This book
Diana Thomsen
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
I was deeply disappointed with this book. On one hand, it was a moving and beautiful coming of age story. A marvelous middle grade novel about a girl so unique and precious that you can't help but cheer for her. Great family relationships and wonderful community members. However, the author felt the need to include evolution and homosexuality, meaning this book loses like half its potential readership. I can't recommend this book because it contains offensive content. Really, folks, you don't ha ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I related to Frances, or Figgrotten, as she likes to be called. She doesn't see the world in the same way that her family does, especially not the way her older sister does. She embraces other favorites and a streak of independence that others see as stand-offish. The only person who she sees as a friend, and who truly accepts her as she is, is her bus driver Alvin. She considers him her best friend and feels that as long as she has one friend, and her love of nature, all will be ok. It's when A ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Frances is content when she is outdoors and alone, getting to know local flora and fauna such as the crows that keep stopping by to visit. Like her idol Margaret Mead, Frances is an observer of nature and humans. Frances loves her rocky outdoor hideout and she spends time there in good weather and bad. This safe place also helps Frances avoid her older sister Christinia, who is not happy about having a sister that doesn’t “fit in”. Frances doesn’t really care what other people think, with the ex ...more
Shawna Busby
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
It is about a quirky middle school girl who has given herself a new name "Figgrotten". She is basically a loner that loves nature to the extent of bringing it into her bedroom. Her older sister is a typical teenager that is angry and moody and sometimes mean to Figgrotten. Figgrotten is a nature lover and very much involved in learning as far as reading the encyclopedias. She sits in a rock cave everyday and is doing a study on crows and their behavior. She is going through normal life changes a ...more
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zz2018, audiobooks
Where does childhood end and adolescence begin? Frances Pauley, who calls herself Figgrotten, is struggling with growing up and the inevitable pains that accompany it. Her best friend in the world is Alvin, her elderly but well read bus driver. Alvin encourages Figgrotten in her naturalist pursuits, as well as her encyclopedia reading. Her worst enemy alternates from being her fussy older sister Christinia, random seventh grade girls who bully her, and a new classmate who likes to blurt out answ ...more
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