Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"Feathers" A Book In Review

I am on a journey to read "Feathers", a Newbery award winning novel by Jacqueline Woodson. Won't you come along and take a journey with me…

The opening of the book draws you in automatically as it brings you into the classroom where everything is routine and the same but there is a new student that stands out. He stands out because he is the only white boy in the whole school. Frannie, who is telling the story, couldn't shake the feeling of coming to school a month late, after everyone had buddied up. The backdrop is in the 1970's, and this school is on the other side of the highway. Frannie sees how his demeanor is different. He is calm and collected, even after Ms. Johnson the teacher introduces him to class and gives her a smile, yet give a subtle stare at Trevor after he pretends to cough, but covers up a word underneath. Frannie is also thinking about the poem Ms. Johnson had read the class the day before:
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
Frannie had scribbled the words, hope is the thing with feathers in her notebook as she loved the sound and it had stuck with her. When she mentions the poem to her mother, she notes that her mother thinks Ms. Johnson is trying to get them to look forward and not backward since it is the seventies now. Frannie still doesn't quite understand until she asks her brother Sean in sign language about the poem and what their mother said. Sean clarifies it by explaining that it's a metaphor. The next few days Frannie notices how calm yet wistful the boy was. Even after some comments from Trevor, who seemed to be the one picking on the boy the most. He had the lightest skin of all the kids with deep blue eyes. Each time the boy's eyes met Frannie's, he gave her a sweet smile, and it seemed like they had a connection without saying a word.  While at the playground, Trevor, Rayray and some other friends started picking on the new boy. Rayray has asked for his name and when he didn't respond, Trevor started picking making fake signs as though the boy was deaf. Frannie watched with her friends from the fence, when she saw the boy respond in sign language saying no he was't deaf, then looked at her and smiled. Trevor and his friends began calling him Jesus boy, and the next day he mentioned this to Ms. Johnson an the rest of the class, but he also said he liked the name. Which leaves those that dubbed him Jesus boy wondering and questioning. Another thing that draws us in is that we don't know his name and are left wondering if we will find out his name. We also find out that he came from the other side of the highway and didn't belong, and now he's here in Ms. Johnson's classroom with the somber look about him. There are other novels that draw me in but he setting or the mystery such as Doll Bones which is another book I'm currently reading. The mystery of the doll and the adventure three friends are about to take leaves me in suspense, and I love suspense books like this. 

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