Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finished a book

Feathers By Jaqueline Woodson

Boy, I looked at her website and she has written a lot. Good thing.

Takes place during the 70s. Frannie lives on the black side of the train tracks and is in 6th grade at price. A new kid comes to town, a white boy named Jesus. (It quickly becomes obvious that this boy is the only white boy. At this point my son said, "what?" I was reading the book out loud to him and up until this boy arrives at school there had been no mention of the characters being white or black and even upon the entrance this boy the description could be of characteristics other than skin color: the boy comes in white and soft as snow. My son is used to the numbers going in the opposite direction.) It turns out the bully of the class also has light skin.

It's a small little book with a small little plot. My son and I found it because we were looking for a medal winning book to read for a book report. He ended up reading Rules by Cynthia Lord for class. But we decided to read Feathers together. Just a new kid who's quiet, sad and different. A girl with a deaf brother.And a mother who's lost some babies. All together it is a book about difference, hope and doing the right thing. It moved quickly. With a lot of white space, effective dialogue and short chapters.Ms. Woodson sure knows how to show versus tell, through Frannie's eyes. We see a portrait of the lost baby on the wall. We see her beautiful brother and their special relationship. We see the new kid. But Frannie does not look very closely at herself. She is only revealed by her actions. The things she does without thinking. Wonderful.