Monday, March 12, 2018

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wesley read this book last fall and has been encouraging me to read it ever since. I started it one day on my lunch break and then a student borrowed it later that afternoon so I never got around to finishing it. He has now ended up with two copies so I have borrowed one and finally got to it. I am so glad I did.

Wonder is the story of August (Auggie) Pullman, a young boy who was born with severe facial deformities. Even after several surgeries his eyes sit too low on his face, his lips are scarred from a cleft palate repair, his ears are misshapen and his his skin looks as if he has been burned. As a result, Auggie has been homeschooled until the fourth grade. But by the time he is ready for fifth grade, his parents decide it is time for him to go to "real school".

Auggie then heads to Beecher Prep, a private school in the heart of New York City. Being the new student is hard, being the new student with Auggie's face is incredibly difficult. He is nervous as he tries to make new friends and deal with the stares and taunts of the other students. What he doesn't know about at first is that the other students are afraid to touch him for fear of catching "the plague". A few students befriend him, but others are cruel and the transition to school is very hard. Auggie wants to quit, but is convinced to continue on.

What will Auggie learn about himself as he goes to school each day, and what will his classmates learn about themselves. At the beginning of the school year they are challenged with the words of Dr. Wayne Dyer, "When given the choice between being right and being kindchoose kind." Great advice for all of us, but how often do we make that choice?

While this is a book aimed at kids aged 10-12, I'd highly recommend it to anyone. It is a great lesson in looking beyond appearances to see the wonder that lies within each of us. Wes and I are going to check out the movie tomorrow morning and I can hardly wait. I hear they've done a wonderful job of bringing Auggie's story to the big screen and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

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