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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*The Importance of Wings* by Robin Friedman- young readers fantasy book review
The Importance of Wings
by Robin Friedman
Ages 10-14 176 pages Charlesbridge July 2009 Hardcover    

There is nothing most teen girls fear more than not fitting in, and Roxanne is no exception. She longs to wear her hair like everyone else, with wings brushed back on each side. She wants to have family dinners like everyone else and go shopping on weekends with her mom. None of these things are happening for Roxanne right now, and she is finding it difficult to cope.

Roxanne’s father is a taxi driver who works late nights and often into the morning hours. Roxanne’s mother has gone to Israel to take care of a sick relative, leaving Roxanne and her sister, Gayle, to fend for themselves. Then Liat moves into the house down the street, and everything Roxanne thinks about being cool changes.

Liat is Israeli like Roxanne and Gayle, but Liat lost her mother in a bombing in Israel. Now she and her father travel through the United States, looking for a place that feels safe. Liat has not learned fear from her father, however, and this is the thing that Roxanne admires the most.

Liat isn’t worried about being picked last in gym or not wearing her hair right, or even about not having designer clothes. She is strong and determined and teaches Roxanne that she can be, too. In the end, Roxanne has learned how to be the normal American girl that she wanted to be. Some of this has come at the hands of Liat, but much of it has emerged from Roxanne herself as she begins to find her own identity.

There is a little history and current event information here about the country of Israel, but this is mostly a story of friendship. Readers who are born American will be able to glimpse another perspective of citizenship from these characters.
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