Monday, May 26, 2008
This compact novel tackles prejudice, faith, hope and fear through the eyes of Frannie, a sixth grader in a predominately black school. One day a white-looking boy shows up at her school, seeming out of place. He is quickly knick-named Jesus-boy because of his long, flowing hair. Frannie puzzles over her classmates’ mixed reactions to this newcomer. The class bully instantly starts making fun of him while her friend Samantha, whose father is a conservative Baptist preacher, believes that he really is Jesus. Meanwhile, Frannie contemplates her family’s future. Her mother is expecting another baby after having lost her last three and her older deaf brother, Sean expresses a desire to be able to live in everyone else’s world as well as his own deaf world. All of these concerns are woven together as Frannie learns more about herself and the meaning of an Emily Dickenson poem “Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul...” This thought-provoking novel could foster lively discussion among middle-school students.