Sunday, November 24, 2013


Title:  Wonder
Author:  R. J. Palacio
Publication Information:  Borzoi Book, Alfred A. Knopf, Random House Children's Books, Random House Children's Books, Random House, Inc. 2012. 315 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book based on all the wonderful reviews for the book and because sometimes I just want to know what is out there for my children to read. The book came as a hardcover edition from the local elementary school.

Favorite Quote:  "It's like people you see sometimes, and you can't imagine what it would be like to be that person .... Only I know that I'm that person to other people, maybe every single person in that auditorium. To me, though, I'm just me. An ordinary kid."

August "Auggie" Pullman is an little boy in the fifth grade. He loves video games and Star Wars just like so many other boys. However, he has been home schooled until this point because he was born with facial deformities and has required extensive medical intervention. His physical appearance has caused him to be excluded and shunned in so many situations that he spent part of his childhood wearing an astronaut helmet. His favorite holiday is Halloween because he can hide behind a mask and for a short while feel like any other child - a short while when appearance does not affect how people look at him and react to him.

In fifth grade, Auggie joins a mainstream school. This is the story of what happens in that fifth grade year. It is Auggie's story, but what pleasantly surprised me, it is so much more than that.  The first section of the book is Auggie's story. Then come sections from the perspective of those surrounding Auggie. His sister Via who loves her brother but has her owns struggles and challenges as she starts a new high school. Summer who becomes Auggie's first friend at school. Jack, another fifth grader who friends Auggie. Miranda who is Via's best friend and who has been a big part of Auggie's life. Justin who is Via's new friend. Throughout, the reader comes back to August and his story.

Each of the characters introduced are part of Auggie's life and are changed by their relationship with him. Each of them also faces their own struggles with growing up, feeling different, and feeling left out. As such, this story becomes so much broader because we all have experienced those feelings at times. While a reader (especially the target audience of children) may not directly relate to Auggie's situation, they may see themselves in one of the other characters.

I love discovering books that I enjoy as an adult and that I can share with my children. Even more, I love discovering books that can spark a conversation about life and life lessons with my children. A wonderful book!

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