Title: The Importance of Wings
Author: Robin Friedman
Concepts: jobs, scarcity, opportunity cost
Review: Back in the 1980s when television re-runs provided a major source of entertainment, shows like Wonder Woman and Charlie's Angels generated a number of female role models and fashion styles. Hence long feathered hair with wings not only prevailed as the must-have hair style at school, it also represented in Roxanne's eyes what it meant to be a normal American girl. Roxanne, an Israeli immigrant, longed to be a normal American girl with feathered hair living in a normal American family, but she could not seem to grasp onto that sense of belonging.
Her father worked long hours driving a taxi in Manhattan, her mother had gone back to Israel to care for a sick relative, she and her younger sister spent seemingly endless stretches of time by themselves in a house with bare cupboards and no supervision, and her hair certainly would not cooperate to form those perfect wings. It took the arrival of a new girl in town - an independent, courageous, and beautiful Israeli girl who happened to move into the bright pink house next door - for Roxanne to recognize her own insecurities, value her heritage, and become more proactive about her life.
Clearly woven into the story is an important lesson about the risk of food insecurity when parents don't have enough time or money to properly care for their children. This engrossing novel, with its well-developed characters, does an excellent job in playing upon different interpretations of the book's title. The Importance of Wings makes for an altogether enjoyable and insightful read.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children