Sometimes, books come along that have the power to change the world. I believe that Wonder by R.J. Palacio is one of those books. Wonder has been the talk of reading teacher and librarian circles for the past several months, and I finally made the time to read this book, and it was better than I ever thought possible. I thought nothing I read this summer could possibly top John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Wonder has me rethinking that. It is a beautiful, powerful book that every person should read. Its message–one of choosing kindness–is one that all of us could stand to receive.
Wonder tells the story of August Pullman, a boy who’s about to enter fifth grade. This will mark the first time Auggie has ever been at school with other kids. He’s been homeschooled up until now, and he’s not entirely certain he wants that to change. Auggie’s nervous about how the kids at school will react to his face. See, Auggie was born with a facial deformity–for lack of a better word–and he doesn’t exactly look like most kids. But everything else about him is perfectly normal. He’s a good student, he’s funny, he loves Star Wars (a kid after my own heart), and, most of all, he just wants to belong somewhere. But will anyone be able to look past his appearance and really be Auggie’s friend?
As it turns out, there are a couple of kids who befriend Auggie, but Auggie worries that he’s some kind of charity case to them. Nothing about middle school is easy–especially when your face might as well be a target for bullies–but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got a couple of friends who have your back. Even though Auggie has doubts (sometimes justified) about his friends on occasion, he’s forming lasting relationships with people who see him for the wonderful person he is.
Read Wonder to discover how one very special kid can change the minds, hearts, and attitudes of those around him and turn an entire school–even a community–into a model of kindness. This book gives me hope that the world we live in can change for the better.
I haven’t touched on a lot of what happens in Wonder–Auggie’s relationships with his parents and sister, how he deals with all of the changes in his life, etc.–but these are things you need to experience for yourself. This book isn’t just Auggie’s story. Yes, it’s told primarily from his point of view, but we also get glimpses into the minds of his family and friends. It’s eye-opening and humbling, and I challenge readers to examine their own thoughts and prejudices against people who may look different from them. We’ll all relate to the characters in this book in different ways, and reflecting upon how we relate to these characters could have the power to change our attitudes about ourselves and others.
If you’d like to learn more about this unbelievably awesome book, visit http://rjpalacio.com/, or check out the super cool book trailer below.
You can buy Wonder wherever books are sold. I read my school library’s copy of the book, but this is one that I definitely want to purchase for myself. I know I’ll want to reread Wonder soon.