Wonder by R.J. Palacio; 2012
Everyone should ready Wonder for a lesson in kindness. I’m not really a fan of those signs in Barnes & Noble that say “Books Everyone Should Read” because #thecanon. However, this book has a very practical, universal, and meaningful lesson for everyone: “kinder than necessary.”
Ten-year-old August Pullman was born with several genetic abnormalities. Inside, August knows that he’s just like everyone else. But after 27 surgeries, people who see him for the first time do “that look-away thing,” if they manage to hide their shock at all. August is terrified when his parents want him to start the fifth grade at Beecher Prep instead of being homeschooled. Though targeted by Julian, the fifth grade bully, August eventually gains a camaraderie of good friends who see him for who he really is: a funny, smart, generous boy.
Wonder is narrated by August and other children around him, including his sister, Via, and his friend Jack. Through these varying perspectives we get a better understanding of the transformative role that August has on the people around him. The close relationships that August has with his parents and friends reminds us that this type of support and love is what’s most important. We walk away thinking that with all of the love that he has to give and receive, August may just be in an enviable position.