Wonder

 

by RJ Palacio

 

Knopf Books for Young Readers

 

Reader Appeal: Tween / Teen

 

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

 

PopFam Rating: A

 

August Pullman is a normal 10 year old boy. He loves all things Star Wars, adores his dog, and is loyal to his friends. But August isn't like everyone else. Born with a genetic deformity that makes him look more like E.T. than a boy, Auggie is used to people either staring or turning away when they see him. Partially due to surgeries, and partially due to sheltering parents, Auggie has never been to public school, until his mother decides it's time for him to attend fifth grade at Beecher Prep. It's the first year of middle school for everyone, so he won't be the only new kid or trying to break into established friendships.

 

But it's really not that simple for August. He knows how people, kids in particular, react to him. How will classmates treat someone with such a deformity? How will their parents respond? August isn't so sure he wants to face the comments, stares, and, very possibly, the rejection public school could offer. Reluctantly, he agrees to meet the principal and a few students to test the waters and see what school might be like. What he finds is enticing and Auggie agrees to try it out and experience all that middle school has to offer.

 

Wonder is a beautifully written story that touches the heart of everyone who feels uncomfortable or scared. Which is all of us, really. It's a story that honors the power of kindness and true friendship, and shows the strength and influence of family. August exhibits courage in his actions, yet the strength he displays comes from the love and support of his family, which in a day of iCarly, Twilight, and other series that show kids with little, if any, parental interaction, is certainly a positive.

 

Wonder is a book parents can feel comfortable letting tweens and youth read. There is zero profanity, no sex, and many positive messages in their places. If you are a family that reads together, this would be a wonderful book to read aloud, as the conversations it could spark would be meaningful to both you and your kids.

 

Let’s Talk About It

 

If your family members are interested in this book, then encourage discussion about it afterward. You can use these questions to get started:

 

• Do you know someone who has displayed the courage of August? How has their life affected you? Explain.

 

• What is a precept, or rule of life, you live by?

 

• How does your kindness show the face of God?

 

--BB

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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