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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

The Jacket by Andrew Clements has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Phil Morelli’s little brother, Jimmy, forgets his lunch money at school. When Phil returns to school to get the money for his brother, he finds Daniel, an African American, wearing Jimmy’s jacket. Phil accuses Daniel of stealing the jacket, but Daniel denies the theft.

After his teacher investigates, Phil learns that Daniel’s grandmother cleans Phil’s house, and he knows her. Phil's mother gave the jacket to her. Phil feels bad. He apologises to Daniel. He wonders why he immediately assumed Daniel stole his brother's jacket.

Phil lives in an almost exclusively white neighborhood and has friends who are white. Though he gets along with kids of other races at school, except in Daniel's case, he doesn't know these other kids personally. He wonders what life is like for Daniel and realizes that he doesn't know anything about Daniel or his life. Phil concludes that he is probably prejudiced.

Phil asks his mother if he is prejudiced, but she seems reluctant to talk about the subject. However, she attempts to reassure him by saying that he is a nice boy and gets along well with others. Phil wonders why his mother doesn't want to talk about the subject.

Phil has a basketball game coming up, and his dad asks him if he is starting. Phil tells him that there is an African American boy starting instead. Phil notices that his dad seems irritated by the number of black kids on the team and frustrated that some kids didn't get to play more. Phil decides that his dad is prejudiced, too.

Phil decides to see for himself what Daniel’s life is like. He finds Daniel's address and visits, uninvited. In spite of his expectations, Phil finds that Daniel’s neighborhood and house are nearly identical to his own. Inside the house, Daniel's grandmother takes him up to Daniel’s room. Once there, Phil sees CDs and books everywhere, exactly like his own room. Daniel is initially cold toward Phil, but he warms up to him once he realizes Phil wants to be friends.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Phil’s father is easily irritated. Phil's mother tries not to talk about some subjects so as not to upset him more. They both seem to love Phil, but often dismiss him.

When Phil tells his mother that he thinks he is prejudiced, she calls him a “nice boy.” When Phil’s mother wants him to stop questioning whether he is prejudiced, he does what she wants on the outside but continues questioning on the inside.


There is no profanity, only lesser exclamations. When Phil gets nervous about the punishment for grabbing Daniel, he says Jeez and OMG.



Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Lying: After the discussion in the principal's office, Daniel storms out and the jacket is left on the coat rack outside the principal's office. The next day, Phil lies to his teacher and says he needs to call his mother. Instead, he gets the jacket that was left behind.

You can request a review of a title you can’t find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 12


Andrew Clements






Record Label



Aladdin Paperbacks


On Video

Year Published



Book Links Lasting Connections 2002


We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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