Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wonder by RJ Palacio


Wow, I've nearly let this blog die and I'm so sorry for that. I'm restarting. I promise not to let it go so long again. And I'm starting with a book that I've heard so much about and have really wanted to read it.

I've heard so much about Wonder. August (aka Augie) Pullman was born with a congenital facial deformity call Treacher-Collins Syndrome. As a result of this congenital deformity, Augie has been home schooled. The deformity has led to Augie having a number of operations and hospitalizations. However, at 10, his parents have decided that he should be enrolled in a somewhat prestigious prep school in New York City. Aside from his face, which is extremely distinct, Auggie is a normal kid, albeit a smart and perceptive one. His mental capacity is above average. This book examines his struggles to overcome his deformity, go to school and challenge people's perceptions about a person's outward appearance.

Even though this book is classified as young adult, realistic fiction, its story and message will appeal to teachers, parents and other adults as well as its target audience. It is an engaging read and wholesome as well - you won't find any sort of foul language (although there is a bit of bullying in it). Interestingly, the book is told from the perspective of eight different characters, including August and his sister and a few classmates. Each is able to provide their own unique perspective on August and their experiences with him, in their own unique voice (which is quite an amazing talent to have as a writer). There are many themes in this book ranging from empathy and courage to bullying and compassion. It demonstrates the impact that mainstreaming a child with August's deformity can have on all members of a community and a family. It's a book about doing the right thing and acting gracefully under pressure. This book contains great material for kids - it presents many topics for parents to discuss with their children - acceptance and bravery and how the easiest thing isn't always the right thing to do. It is also full of material for book groups. Definitely a must read for everyone out there.

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