Book of the Week: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

By R. J. Palacio

My book club chose the YA novel Wonder and invited our kids to join us in a family discussion. Turns out it was one of the best book clubs we've ever had. The kids (ranging in age from 6 - 10yo) couldn't raise their hands fast enough to talk about the main character, August (or Auggie), his loyal family and his adventure in his first year (5th grade) in public school. Here's a quick book blurb:

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school―until now. He’s about to enter fifth 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?

My daughter and I read this together at bedtime every night. She thought it was hysterical / weird that I cried every five pages or so. But I dare you not to feel emotional when reading Wonder. I told her she was heartless. She thought that was also hysterical.

Told in first person from varying points of view, the author deftly brings us into the fold and sets us on a roller coaster of emotions as we feel Auggie's brave struggle to belong in a world that desperately wants to look away. The reader knows he's deformed from a birth defect with an unpronounceable name, but we're never told exactly what he looks like.

The movie is coming out in November '17 but I *highly* recommend reading the book before you see it. The story is ultimately about being brave and taking chances, embracing differences and seeing beyond the surface of things. IMHO it is one of those important books that all children - and adults, for that matter - should read.

Holly RaynesComment