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I admire Woodsen as an author who seeks to create culturally-relevant literature for children. But the whole time I read this, I thought of how it would translate to a child. As an inner city fourth grade teacher, this is exactly the kind of book I "think" would be great for kids, and looks meaningful on the bookshelf, but is abandoned almost immediately by young readers. The words are lyrical, the plot is almost nonexistent, and the main character is too unrealistically adult in her thinking and speech. The whole time I was reading the book, all I could think of was, "No 11 year old girl talks like this!" Frannie's internal musings were so poetic and lofty that I feel like most children would not be able to connect to the character. The only "action" in the book is when the bully goes to hit another kid, misses, and falls down. This small piece of action is picked apart for the rest of the book until the whole idea is threadbare. The author also threw out a bucketful of issues such as race, disability, socioeconomic status, religion, death, etc. This is the kind of book a critic would laud for being culturally minded and relevant, but there were too many starts of ideas and not enough depth. Woodsen's tactic seemed to be "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks." Nothing really does. This is exactly the kind of children's book that is chosen for a prestigious awards by adults. I'm curious to hear what an actual child thinks after reading this book.
As someone who does not enjoy reading for fun, I chose this African American novel as a part of my multicultural literature college course. I didn't expect to like this book much, just to peel the bandaid of reading, but i enjoyed the journey this book led me on. It lets you explore humanness in a young girl thats refreshing to read about in the book.
Having read several of Ms. Woodson's books , I was prepared for good, even great. 'Feathers' did not disappoint. This is a very subtle, but amazing story of a little girl and her winter of 1971. There's a lot going on in Frannie's life. But the thing about this book is the way Ms. Woodson draws you in and develops her characters, It just rings true to a child's spirit and perception of life. I love the little peak into Frannie's world and the early 70's theme background, though it could take place almost anytime. I highly recommend this book for boys and girls. It touches on so many relevant topics, bullying, religion, racism, familial relationships... and of course, Hope.