Friday, March 28, 2014

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

from goodreads: August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

This is a heart-warming book that had me laughing one page and crying the next. It's the most thought-provoking book I've read in a long time. I love that it's told from several different points of view to give the reader an in-depth perspective on Auggie's life.

Auggie has an amazing English teacher who introduces new precepts to the class each month. One is: "Be kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.” And therein lies the theme of the book. I've always tried to teach my children that people shouldn't be judged by what they look like--to look past their outward appearance and get to know the real person. However, sometimes, I've caught myself staring at people--not to be rude, but out of curiosity. Reading this book about Auggie's experiences was really eye-opening to me. I know I'm going to be more compassionate in the future. After all, don't we all just want to blend in and be treated with respect?

As a parent, I felt for Auggie's parents watching their son struggle at school. It was a little heart-wrenching to watch as kids avoided touching him, and called him names like 'orc'. Although Auggie encountered some people that were mean to him at school, it was endearing to see the kids that found things in common with him, and sincerely want to be friends with him. It was these friendships that gave Auggie strength to continue going to school. And although school was one of his toughest experiences yet, it gave him confidence as he excelled in his subjects and made more and more friends.

Palacio has a great website set up about this book. To get more insight into Auggie's world, check it out here. If you're looking for a book to teach children about differences, or just to read an inspiring story, this is a must-read.

Published: 2.2012
Rating: 5
Ages: 10+

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