50 Books by Authors of Color: Book 39
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Last book by Woodson I promise, and I mean it this time. I only have eleven books left to read and none of them will be by Jacqueline Woodson. The Dear One would have been my last one, but a good friend of mine wanted to buy Feathers for her daughter for Christmas, and I said I’d read it to make sure it was appropriate.
Feathers takes place in the early 1970’s, where black power symbols and afros are becoming all the rage among sixth grader Frannie and her friends, who live on the “black side” of the highway. Frannie and her friends are shocked when a boy who looks white enters their class in the middle of the term. The students start calling him “The Jesus Boy” because of the way he looks. While The Jesus Boy insists that he is not white, Frannie’s friend Samantha starts to wonder if the boy really is Jesus, instead of just a boy that has moved with his family from the other side of the highway. Frannie, who is not religious at all begins to question her own faith and thoughts death and an afterlife when her mother becomes pregnant after having several miscarriages and a daughter who died in infancy.
This book is heavy, but I think accurately describes the thoughts and feelings that a child in the sixth grade might have on religion, faith and spirituality. While the subject matter isn’t as controversial as some of Woodson’s others it might lead a child living in today’s society to have questions about race, segregation and religion.
Overall rating: 4/5 and promising with absolute certainty, no more Jacqueline Woodson books until 2012