Ikarus Jackson, a new boy on the block, surprises his neighbors one day by flying above the rooftops with his "long, strong, proud wings." People start to whisper, though, and soon those whispers turn to taunts, disdain, and finally even dismissal from school. One quiet girl, someone who knows loneliness herself, doesn't think the winged boy is strange. She runs through the streets, searching the clouds for her exiled schoolmate, only to find a policeman yelling at him to get down from the edge of a building where he perched with the pigeons: "Could the policeman / put him in jail for flying, / for being too different?" She musters her strength to tell the laughing onlookers to leave him alone, and she tells her new friend "what someone should have long ago"--that his flying is beautiful.
Christopher Myers, who illustrated the Coretta Scott King Honor Book Black Cat and the Caldecott Honor Book Harlem shines in this simple, lovely tribute to individualism, encouraging his young readers to dare to fly too close to the sun despite the warnings of the mythological Icarus. "Ikarus Jackson can fly through the air; I want kids to find their own set of wings and soar with him," says Myers. His masterful cut-paper collages capture the odd, crazy beauty of Ikarus's big white wings and the dizzying perspectives of a boy who is flying over rooftops. Urban landscapes are represented by cut photos of fencing, brownstones, and photo-booth portraits, while the sky in one spread is a sea of fuschia roses. Wings is a wonderfully expressive pairing of story and illustration. (Ages 6 and older) --Karin Snelson
Fly High and Rejoice in Our Differences
By Roz Levine on Aug 05, 2001
Ikarus Jackson is new to the neighborhood. He has long beautiful white wings and can fly gracefully over rooftops, diving and swooping. All the children call him strange, gawk, taunt and laugh at him. Even adults stare and make unkind comments. Everyone but a shy girl. She knows how Ikarus feels. She's heard them whispering and making fun of how quiet she is. She thinks what Ikarus can do is wonderful and when a policeman orders him to stop flying and stay on the ground, she bravely tells all the others to stop laughing and pointing and leave him alone. Then she turns to Ikarus and "told him what someone should have long ago: Your flying is beautiful." And for the first time, he smiled. "Ikarus had found his wings again."..... In this simple retelling of the Icarus myth, Christopher Myers' modern day Ikarus Jackson doesn't fall from the sky because he dared to fly too close to the sun, but because the neighborhood couldn't tolerate his differences and broke his spirit. His beautifully gentle, poetic text, full of imagery and magic is only outdone by his amazing cut paper and photo collage illustrations and both children and adults alike will be mesmerized by the bold colors and intricate detail. Together, word and art combine to make a very expressive and thoughtful story about the triumph of the human spirit, celebrating our differences and embracing what makes each and every one of us unique and special. Perfect as a read aloud story for youngsters 4-8, Wings will have even more meaning for older children and should open interesting family discussions.
Wings is a Spirit Lifter
By Michele Kingery on Oct 29, 2011
"Ikarus Jackson, the fly boy, came to my school last Thursday. His long, strong, proud wings followed where he went." But people don't get it. They snicker and sneer and drive Ikarus to the top of an apartment building to sit "with the pigeons." Because "pigeons don't make fun of people." In a sort of "emperor's new clothes" moment, a young girl calls out "what someone should have long ago: "Your flying is beautiful."" That seems to be what Ikarus needs to break free of his self-doubts and insecurities and soar. Christopher Myers' collages have an Ezra Jack Keats meets Romare Bearden feel to them. Look closer and images appear within the images. I wondered about the significance of these secondary images, but not knowing made them all the more appealing. Wings is a book to explore and enjoy.
By Paula Burris on Feb 19, 2001
My two children and I enjoyed reading this book. It exhibits to children that it is okay to be different. It also prompted a discussion with my children on the varying differences in the world which allowed me to express, again, our appreciation for diversity.
Take flight with Ikarus
By Michael J. Mazza on Apr 25, 2001
"Wings," by Christopher Myers, is an excellent work of fiction for younger readers. Myers combines an easy-to-read text with colorful collage illustrations to tell the story of Ikarus Jackson. Ikarus has wings, and is able to fly. These characteristics make him different from the other kids. He faces prejudice and discrimination, but ultimately finds a friend who appreciates him for the unique person he is. "Wings" is an effective blend of fantasy and urban realism. Myers' story captures universal truths, and his artwork is stunning. This book is a good tool for teaching children about diversity and tolerance.
Christopher Myers tells a beautiful story about individuality
By Lauren Hunter on Oct 28, 2014
Christopher Myers tells a beautiful story about individuality, the devastating effects of bullying, and the importance of coming to accept and love the whole, you. The main character, Ikarus Jackson is the new kid in school and wants more than anything to fit in. To make matters worse for young Ikarus, all the other students make fun of his
one of the best
By Kellie on May 24, 2014
This book is a great discussion starter on the negative effects of bullying & how important it is to find your voice in speaking out against it!
By Katherine Clark on Mar 01, 2014
Christopher Meyeres always makes beautiful books/illustrations. The story in this book, Wings, is so deep. I love reading it to my 4 year old and it is very peaceful, he often falls asleep while I am reading it to him (something that doesn't easily happen with my boy). I love the message which is that it is up to you to stand up for others, and that the unique things about yourself and others is what is fantastic in this world (not weird). The way the illustrations are printed and bound in this book makes it an all around beautiful book.
My 5 year old son and I BOTH loved this book, so will my students
By Imfinefine on Feb 21, 2013
I could not remember the name of this book for a while, but "Duh!"... it came to me this morning. Wings! This book touched me so much that I haven't forgotten about it. I work with low SES children in the public schools and they've been through so much, as have all people, regardless of SES, and this book just really hits hard at the heart. I think this book is great to use for teaching the comprehension strategy of making connections, as well as to use to help children empathize with others. It's a beautiful message and I just adore it. I checked it out at the library, but I can't wait to have it in my son's library, as well as my classroom's library. Beautiful, beautiful book.
Great book for kids!
By Jacqi on Oct 16, 2012
I ordered this book for a third grade girls book club at an elementary school. The book is well written, beautifully illustrated, and has a positive message!
By D. Hawkey on Sep 24, 2009
This book was among my daughters choices to check out the last time we visited the Library. I read it to her before bed that night and found myself wanting to read it again because I loved the story and the illustrations so much. I returned the book back to the Library and bought her her own copy. Highly recommended!