Monday, November 4, 2013

Staff Picks

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”
-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Auggie Pullman is a normal 10-year old boy…on the inside.  He loves Star Wars, dressing up for Halloween, and playing with his dog, Daisy.  However, Auggie was born with extreme facial abnormalities. Even after numerous surgeries, Auggie still looks nothing like his peers.  His face garners stares everywhere he goes.

Because his face has required numerous reconstructive surgeries, Auggie has been homeschooled by his loving and supportive family.  The story follows Auggie as he attends mainstream school for the first time in 5th grade.  Students and teachers alike are shocked by his appearance as he walks the halls of Beecher Prep Middle School.

Told from the perspective of eight different narrators, including Auggie, Wonder illustrates how being different affects one’s family and friends alike.  R.J. Palacio does an excellent job of capturing middle school life, complete with the harsh criticism and bullying that is prevalent today.  However, she also captures the compassion of children as well. 

Auggie, who sees himself as an ordinary kid, yearns for his peers to see him as such.  Will he be able to make friends at Beecher Prep?  Will he ever fit in?

Wonder challenges readers not to judge a book by its cover…or a person by his face.  It’s a story about courage, kindness, and empathy and lends itself well to important discussions between children and adults about bullying and acceptance.

Laura Bradley
Program Manager