Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

This is one of the books we are using in my Intro to Children's Literature class. It is a heartbreaking and heartwarming book about a boy dealing with bullying based on his facial deformity.

Auggie Pullman has always been homeschooled, but now he is in the fifth grade and his mother feels going to school would be the best option for him. He is to attend Beecher Prep, a private school for gifted children, where his parents feel he will not face discrimination based on his facial deformity. Auggie has had 27 surgeries on his face and while making it easier on his breathing, eating, and hearing, his physical appearance has not changed much. Auggie is a fun-loving, humorous person, who refuses to let his physical disabilities define him, however he faces bullying from a spoiled rich child named Julian and is even let down by children who are supposed to be his friends. The story is told from many different perspectives, including Auggie's sister, her boyfriend, and some of Auggie's school friends. Despite all the difficulties of his life, Auggie stays true to who he really is and it is his true nature that finally wins over the entire school and teaches his friends a valuable lesson.

The multiple perspectives of this book help to enrich our picture of Auggie and show us what a good person he is. There is quite a bit of sad stories in this book, which make it a bit overwhelming at times, but it does show that everyone faces his or her own battles and that affects how they deal with others. I love the way one of Auggie's teachers, Mr. Browne has his list of precepts and has the children discuss these each month and how his summer assignment is to mail in precepts they create. I think they are working on a book with precepts based on Wonder and I think that would be a great classroom tool.

Favorite Character: Auggie. He is a beautiful person and shows us that obstacles can be overcome if we believe in ourselves.

Favorite Quote: "Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life, because we all overcometh the world.- Auggie."

I really enjoyed this book and it is a great one for early middle school students to read. 5 cups of cocoa!

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