Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Feathers Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Lyrical and plotless -- for patient readers.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.


A brief school fight.


Candy bar mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is nothing to be concerned about here, and lots of ideas to think about.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjadafa3026 January 9, 2010
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byboragasux November 29, 2009
Kid, 11 years old March 18, 2021

Really Good, Sometimes Hard to get Through

Even though Feathers doesnt really have a plot, it is still a really good book and shouldn't be overlooked. Kids under 10 wouldn't really appreciate i...
Teen, 17 years old Written byblah bahhh June 13, 2019

its an ok book, i meanits pretty good. wait im typing in the title

i think this book is meant for 2yos. i mean, its too easy for 17 yos like me. sooooooooooo.... and jacqueline is a pretty name, i have 5 friends with the same n... Continue reading

What's the story?

There is no plot, but here are the elements. In 1971, with war in the background, Franny's brother is deaf, and her mother is pregnant again after several miscarriages. In school, there's a new white student in her all-black class, and her best friend thinks he might be Jesus, while the class bully can't seem to leave him alone.

Is it any good?

There are kids' books written to appeal to kids, and there are kids' books like FEATHERS, written to appeal to the adults who buy the books for kids. There's almost always at least one of the latter type among the Newbery winners. They tend be cerebral rather than emotional, to involve Big Ideas, such as racism, poverty, and religion, but they are often rather skimpy on actual, you know, story.

That's not to say that it isn't good -- it is. It's beautifully written, lyrical, thoughtful, at times even wise. There are undoubtedly some kids, patient and experienced readers who don't need a story to keep them turning the pages, who will enjoy this, maybe even love it. But not many. Mostly it will be loved by the adults who make the purchasing decisions. But for those who assume that a Newbery Honor means it's a good book to recommend to kids, here is, yet again, proof of the falseness of that assumption.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Dickenson's poem. What is it about? Why did the author use it so pervasively? How does it apply to the lives of these characters? Also, why do you think this book won the Newbery Honor?

Book details

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