14 May

Wonder written by R. J. Palacio is a beautifully written novel for middle school readers about being different – something almost everyone can relate to on some level.  The main character is a 5th grade boy named August Pullman who was born with severe facial deformities that prevented him from going to school until middle school.

What I enjoyed about this book is that August doesn’t seem to be above the fact that people stare and make rude comments about how he looks.  His internal monologue shows readers how difficult life is for him.  Middle school students can be brutal and his private school is like every other middle school in America – kids judge each other on their looks and their “coolness” factor.  What I also liked about this book is that you learn how other people feel that interact with August.  The first part of the book is written from August’s perspective, while other sections are written by family members and friends that interact with August.

This is an enlightening read that is sure to strike a chord with anyone who has been seen as different.  This would make a great book discussion choice for middle school and even high school students about differences, disabilities, and the power to overcome adversity.  I just saw a YouTube video created by a young mother about her son who was born with a cleft palate and other issues that affected his eyes.  The video was so similar to the book, I had to include a link.  Wonder is a beautifully written novel, that is almost certain to receive a Schneider Family Book Award.  And hopefully will be discussed as a Newbery contender this year.

Title: Wonder
Author: R.J. Palacio
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Number: 320 pgs.


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