Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a book about kindness and acceptance. It is written for a middle school and young adult audience, but it has valuable lessons for all ages. Thank you to Elaine Raphael for recommending this to me to help fill a slot on the Book Warriors book challenge.
August “Auggie” Pullman is truly a wonder. He was born with horrible facial abnormalities. He has undergone dozens of surgeries, but he will never be able to look normal. The book starts with August saying “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”
Other than his face, August is a regular kid. He does not have special needs and excels in learning. He is funny, sensitive, and kind-hearted. That is why his parents think he should attend a regular school instead of being home-schooled. August bravely enters 5th grade at Beecher Prep. His presence is a shock to many of the students.
The story follows August, his family, and several of his friends over the course of the school year. Not only is he bullied, but so another boy simply because he befriends Auggie. Through the love and support of his family, August gets through the difficult year with success. In the process, he gradually changes the outlook of many of the people who encounter him.
There is some sadness, but overall the book is joyful. Auggie’s English teacher presents the class with monthly precepts about rules to live by. These set the positive tone for the story. My favorite quote in the novel is from Auggie’s mom when August asks her how people recognize each other in heaven. She says ”You don’t need your eyes to love, right? You just feel it inside you.”
5-Stars. This novel was published on February 14, 2012. I listened to the audiobook which uses different narrators for the six different perspectives.