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The Importance of Wings

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  99 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
An Israeli immigrant's journey to become a "real" American.

With their mother caring for relatives in Israel and their father driving a cab all hours of the day, Roxanne and her sister, Gayle, spend a lot of time watching television reruns of Little House on the Prairie, The Brady Bunch, and Wonder Woman—perfect examples of perfect Americans. Roxanne is desperate to be like
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Charlesbridge (first published January 1st 2009)
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This intermediate chapter book is geared more for a girl’s audience. I would say the target audience is girls from 3rd grade and up. This book is appealing to young girls because it touches on a lot of problems most girls have as they are coming of age, such as being made fun of, feeling like you don’t fit in, and having a crush on a boy that doesn’t see you that way. This book is fast-paced and very relatable and would be great for reluctant readers. This book won a 2010 Sydney Taylor book awar ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
it was sad in the end but definitely a book to learn from! make a sequel!
Nov 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-once-owned
My first thought while reading this was that its written in such a 'now' way that it didn't feel as if it was the early 1980's. Other then some topical news mentions, this book could have been set today (2009) instead of nearly 30 years ago. Robin Friedman mentions in a blurb in the back of the book that she purposely set the novel in the 80's for several reasons--1) because she grew up in the 80's, 2) to avoid the whole 'technology' evolution with new tech always being introduced and 3) the pos ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a really good book. his book would go on my favorites list. This book is about a girl named Roxanne, her Isreali name is Rivet. She has a little sister named Gayle, her Isreali name is Galei. Next door to them is a house that is cursed. Whoever lived there something has happened to them. For example there is a girl who they called Stood-Up Serena. They call her that because at her senior prom she got stood up by her date and she walked into the woods which is right behind there hous ...more
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
The Importance of Wings by Robin Friedman

Audience: Excellent chapter book for intermediate grade levels 5-8. Teacher's should use discretion before choosing this as a read-aloud classroom book, as a romantic relationship 'crush' is discussed periodically.

Appeal: The story will captivate readers with the mystery of a "Cursed House" in the neighborhood and the dangerous coincidences that seem to happen mysteriously to anyone who lives in the house. The author also uses Ema's absence as a cliffhanger throughout the book (which is what ke
Nothing is right anymore: Roxanne's mother is in Israel caring for her sick sister, her father is working long hours as a cab driver, and she is left looking after her little sister, Gayle.

Meanwhile, fitting in at middle school is no easy thing, especially without the right clothes and the right hairstyle: the difficult to construct "wings" of the title.

When a new girl moves into the cursed pink house on her street, life becomes more interesting. Liat is also Israeli; she is also motherless, al
Mar 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, 2009
This is a 2.5 from me.

This book had a lot of really interesting ideas: childhood in the 1980s, whether or not to assimilate as an immigrant, what it means to be Israeli in America, changing nature of friendship, life just on the cusp of coming-of-age, a cursed house and so on. But it just never coalesced into a coherent and interesting story. Which is a shame, because I kept wanting this to be a better book. It reads like a late draft of a book that still needs work.

I would have like to have see
Beth G.
Sep 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Middle-schooler Roxanne spends her days watching television reruns with her sister, mooning over the boy down the street, and dreading gym class. Her father works long hours as a taxi driver, and her mother is on an extended visit to Israel to care for a family member. Although Roxanne was born in Israel, she wants more than anything to be "all-American". It takes some important lessons from her new neighbor, Liat, to teach her how to be herself. This is a sweet coming of age tale that has a str ...more
Shannon McGee
Jun 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
The Importance of Wings is a coming of age tale. Taking place in the 80's, the main character, Roxanne, believes that one of the most important things in the world is to have the right style of hair: "wings." She believes that, if she had these wings, she would be popular in school. All of this changes when Roxanne meets her new next-door neighbor, Liat. Through Liat, Roxanne learns about more important things in life, like family and heritage.

I was excited when I found out this book took place
Sep 12, 2009 rated it liked it
I just finished reading “The Importance of Wings” by Robin Friedman. It is the story of a 13 year old Israeli girl who is living in America. With her mother caring for a sick relative back in Israel and her father working long hours as a taxi driver, she and her sister spend their time trying to be as “American” as possible. They want this so badly that they have even changed their names, but nothing seems to help them feel comfortable in their own skin, that is until they meet Liat.

This is a gr
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: youth
This was an all right book I guess, but every aspect of it was shallow. The plot, the characterization, the setting. I understand the author's reasoning for placing the story in the 1980s, and had there been some more fleshing out of the location and culture and everything I think it could have been very successful. However as it is I'm afraid that the 80s references that are present will just seem weird and possibly confuse the age group this book is aimed at. The characters are likable but I d ...more
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
eh..... Twas okay. Kinda dull. Kinda rushed. I had like 0 in common with the main character. But eh. It was fine. A good book to read in breaks at play rehearsal. Not really recommended but not worth the energy to not recommend. Yeah the only part I thought was original and worth mentioning was Rivka who was mildly but not really that amusing. It was one of those books that I probably would have stopped reading had it been 200 pages longer but it was so short and had such a big font that i was f ...more
Maggie G.
Apr 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
I loved the connection between the two girls, Roxanne and Liat. Roxanne looks for a role model to be American but finds it in the person most like herself, a little Israeli girl named Liat.

The idea of the Curse fell a little flat, mainly because it wasn't as strong of an analogy as it could've been. I think the father and the boys' anger issues needed to be explored in order to give the work more depth. As it is, I would say it's a easy, interesting read that young girls around 5th and 6th grade
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Roxanne is an Israeli girl growing up in the New York suburbs. Her mother is in Israel helping her sick sister, and her father is a busy cab driver, leaving Roxanne and her sister mainly on their own. A new neighbor, an Israeli-American girl named Liat, helps Roxanne move beyond her focus on television and peer pressure to become more of her own person. Boys and television are a big part of the story, making it not suitable for religious readers.
Apr 09, 2009 added it
Charming quick read about the daughter is Israeli parents dealing with the tensions between her parents culture and her desire to fit in as an American -- probably relevant to some extent to any immigrant experience.

Set in the 80s, so lots of 80s pop-culture references (the wings in the title would, yes, be those feathered hair wings), which was both fun and a little disconcerting, because it means my childhood has become the stuff of historical fiction. :-)
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, juvenile
I loved The Importance of Wings. It's set in the 1980s, which allowed me to reminiscence about my childhood. I liked how Roxanne and Gayle discovered that being American doesn't mean giving up your heritage. I think Roxanne, Gayle, and Liat will do well in the future.
Jul 01, 2010 rated it liked it
A stranger comes to town. File under: pubescent girls, 1980s, Israeli-American, Hebrew, social anxiety, one-parent family, gaining courage.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it liked it
it was alright. it's always strange to read a book set in the 80's - not sure how today's kids react to that.
coming of age story. self-identification.
Lisa Pfeffer
Feb 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
was ok but not bookclub material
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Its not that great but at the same time it was ok. The only thing i didnt like is te charecterization
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Well deserving of the Sydney Taylor Award.
Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was good and has a good message, but it was not one of my favorite books, still worth it!
Jul 22, 2009 rated it liked it
An interesting new 1980s nostalgia book.
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Would be good for tween book club discussion.
Anaisa Herrera
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Dec 24, 2013
Toby Johnson
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Sep 29, 2016
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Growing up, Robin Friedman loved to write, but it was not until after she had worked as an editor in New York City and attended a year of law school that she finally decided to pursue a career as a children's book author. Beginning her writing career in 2000, Friedman is the author of How I Survived My Summer Vacation: And Lived to Write the Story and The Silent Witness.
More about Robin Friedman...