I bought this book during the Library Warehouse Sale and dug it out from my bookshelves to be featured for our current bimonthly theme: Goddesses, Faeries, Spirit-Stars, and Celestial Beings.
Ikarus Jackson is an unusual boy. He has gauzy white wings and he can fly. Similar to most children in literature who are able to fly such as Barnaby in John Boyne’s The Terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket with fabulous illustrations by oliver jeffers, and Princess Hyacinth by Florence Parry Heide and Lane Smith, Ikarus experienced difficulties and felt a deep sense of isolation.
Ikarus’ uniqueness is perceived as a nuisance by his school teachers, while his school mates thought of him as a show-off, and the adults perceived him as strange and different, hence, dangerous to both himself and others. As I read the book, I was reminded of our Oddballs and Misfits bimonthly theme, this would have been a perfect book to feature then as well.
What I especially enjoyed about this book is that Ikarus is portrayed neither as fairy nor a god. He simply sprouted beautiful wings. Quite similar actually to David Almond’s Skellig. And while all the neighborhood kids sniggered and made fun of his ability to fly, there was only this quiet girl who, by the way, is telling the story, who saw just how beautiful Ikarus’ gift is. This is a book that celebrates diversity in its purest form. It demonstrates that not only faeries or angels can have wings and how a simple act of affirmation can change another person’s life.
For teachers who wish to use Wings in the classroom, here is a downloadable pdf file created by rif.org that includes a detailed guide for educators and also for parents and families, and other extension activities that educators may want to explore.
For those who wish to know more about Christopher Myers, check out this beautiful interview with him done by Reading Rockets. Here, Chris discusses why he does what he does, and the importance of stories in one’s life.
Wings by Christopher Myers. Scholastic Press, New York, 2000. Bought my own copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
Wings won the Charlotte Zolotow Award in 2001.
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