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.
As a rule, I avoid books that I think will make me sad, or worse cry. (Most of my students know that this means no books where animals are a major part, because, let's face it, they always die). Because of this, I didn't think I would read Wonder. After watching the preview below, and hearing how excited some students were to read it, I knew I had to suck it up and give it a try. I wasn't let down at all. In fact, I read it in one sitting.
Palacio does an expert job weaving a story that could be tragic and heart-breaking into one that makes the reader sad, but also shows the funny and quirky side to kids and the kindness that changes the world. Instead of tearing you down with sadness and pity, it takes those emotions and shows how being an everyday kid kind of rocks, but being different has its moments, too.
Kids should read this book. Adults should read this book. People in generally should read this book. It is genuine and heartfelt. You root for Auggie, but in a weird way you understand some of the people that aren't always kind to him. Heck, he understands the people that aren't always nice to him. And that is why you will love him.
I had to share one of my favorite quotes.
“There are always going to be jerks in the world, Auggie,” she said, looking at me. “But I really believe, and Daddy really believes, that there are more good people on this earth than bad people, and the good people watch out for each other and take care of each other.”