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
The theme of hope runs throughout the book. Frannie can't quite figure out what the poem means, but she hopes her new baby brother or sister will thrive inside her mother. Not like Baby Lila who had died and the baby after that. Her older brother Sean was born deaf and her mother calls Franny God's Gift. She even has pox marks on her palms to show for it. Her mother thought the poem probably meant she needed to be looking forward instead of backward all the time. At school, the new boy at school looks white but he say's he's not. Both his parents are black. He looks so different with his long curly hair that the kids all call him Jesus Boy. He also knows some sign language, but he doesn't know where he learned it. Frannie's best friend Samantha begins to believe that he really is Jesus, sent down to live with them. The class bully Trevor tells him he needs to go back to the other side of the highway. But Frannie thinks she can be friends with a white boy. The class gets into discussions about race and religion and their individual fears become apparent throughout the book. This book was recently chosen as a Newbery Honor book for 2008, naming it as one of the best books written for children in 2007. Most suitable for kids in grades 4-6.
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