Posted by Mrs. Marquez on July 29, 2008
Frannie is growing up in the early 1970′s when segregation is no longer allowed, but still exists. Her town is divided in two. African Americans on one side and Caucasians on the other. Her teacher reads aloud a poem about hope to the class and it inspires Frannie to consider hope more thoroughly. She is not religious, her mother keeps having miscarrages, her brother is deaf…she is not too certain about this thing called hope. But as she looks at those around her despite their suffering she realizes they still have hope. Her brother, despite the fact that he cannot hear is still optimistic and happy. Her friend Samantha is super religious and when a new boy nicknamed Jesus arrives she wonders what if he was Jesus returned to help the world. Frannie doesn’t believe this but she admires the hope in Samantha’s eyes. When she finds out her mother is pregnant again, she is sad because she is sure her mother will lose the baby. But the way her parents talk about the new baby growing fills everyone with hope. Even the new boy, who is teased at first because of his light skin…has hope. He was adopted by an African American family when he was little and living on the white side of town he wasn’t accepted. His parents told him the African American side of town was very welcoming. It takes a while, but soon the children at school realize “Jesus” is just a kid like them looking for a place to belong.
I was touched by the hopes and of dreams of each of the characters. Anyone who has changed schools, knows how hard it can be to be the new kid. I admired the way Frannie helped the school bully up when he fell. I also admired the way Jesus Boy was no confrontational until he absolutely had to be. He used his words instead of his fists as his primary self defense. Most of all I enjoy the hope floating through the air at the end of the story. Will Frannie’s new sibiling survive? Will Jesus Boy and Frannie start dating?