By Christopher Myers
Review by: Jerrie DeRose
In a world where, too often, children are singled out for ridicule and taunts, and even cruelty, by peers and adults, author Christopher Myers has written a book challenging us to embrace our differences and celebrate our individuality.
The story of Ikarus, the new boy in school, and his wings is told by a shy, quiet young African American girl who knows all about isolation. At first, the oddity of Ikarus’s wings makes him a target of laughter from not only his peers, but by the teacher who does nothing to stop the taunts.
The young narrator thought if everyone ‘saw’ Ikarus fly then they would see what a wonderful thing he could do. But flying leads to accusations of being a show off. Sad and lonely, Ikarus comes to rest on top of a building with the pigeons. The narrator notes that, “at least pigeons don’t make fun of people”.
In the end, the narrator reaches within herself to find a strength and dignity she didn’t realize existed within herself. This new sense of purpose lends this young girl the courage to defend Ikarus and bring to his attention the uniqueness and beauty of his wings. The bond that is formed between these two outsiders allows them to find pride in their diversity and the courage to stand tall.
This is an excellent book for ‘every child’ who has been made to feel an outcast and for every child to learn to accept and embrace those who are different for whatever reason.
The inspiration behind Wings, in Christopher Myers own words, “was to create a book that tells kids never to abandon those things that make them different, to be proud of what makes them unique. Every child has his own beauty, her own talents”.
About the author: Christopher Myers was acclaimed with the solo debut of his first book, Black Cat, which was named a Corettta Scott King Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book.