Book Reviews

Children’s Corner : Wonder by R. J. Palacio

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“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.


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?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.” ~ Goodreads

 

 

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Published:  February, 14, 2012  by Knopf

Length:   322 pages

Audience:  Ages 9 and up;  Grades 4 and up;  Highly suggest that parents/teachers read along to allow for discussion

Genre:    YA,  Realistic Fiction, Children’s, Contemporary, Book Club pick

 R. J. Palacio website       Discussion Questions

 

6th grader review (read it in 4th grade):

I really enjoyed Wonder and learning about Auggie and what he went through. My favorite character was his sister Via because she was tough and stood up for her brother. But she also felt ignored at times by her parents because she was “OK” and didn’t need as much attention as Auggie. I can’t imagine being treated like he was for something he couldn’t change and I was surprised by the rude comments Julian had made. Overall, this was one of my favorite books and recommend it to anyone in 4th grade and older.

Parent review:

I can’t say enough about this beautifully written story about a boy who wants to be noticed for something other than his facial deformity. Wonder is one of those books that I truly believe everyone on the planet should read. Having spent years as a special education teacher, I would run into many scenarios when in public with my class, where people were less than kind with their behavior toward my students. Yes, there were those who were perfectly appropriate but it’s hard to forget those ones who say or do something that is hurtful. (Read about what inspired this story here).  What also made this book very special was hearing from multiple characters and their feelings about life with Auggie. Experiencing their challenges and concerns in candid chapters brought another layer of empathy to this visceral novel about kindness and acceptance. My daughter was in 4th grade when she read this (I read it first) and after I asked her if she would feel comfortable to look up the disease and see actual pictures of people with Treacher-Collins syndrome. (This wasn’t the exact genetic abnormality Auggie had but was partly based on it with other symptoms…being a “wonder”) She agreed and she immediately recognized the “look” and told me about several people she has seen with similar features.  To this day, several years later, we still reference the book when she complains about a pimple or gets into a “mood” about something externally trivial. My youngest is just finishing 3rd grade this year and will wait just a bit more and start it in the fall.

The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story

I wanted to revisit Wonder because just this week Palacio released an 84-page e book titled The Julian Chapter (May 13) from the bully’s perspective, who treated Auggie like the plague.  I was afraid it would take away from Wonder and excuse all the terrible things Julian did and said to Auggie. But once again, Palacio writes in a way that allows the reader to empathize with very complex situations. Nature vs. Nurture. Kids aren’t cruel or mean because they really want to be. 

So, like I said, I could go on and on about Wonder. Please add it to your list and encourage the children and adults in your life to do the same.

My precept: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you saidpeople will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Children’s Corner : Wonder by R. J. Palacio

  1. I didn’t know the Julian chapter was a thing! I loved Wonder, personally, can’t wait to check it out!

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