R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.
Hardcover, Books for Young Readers, 315 pagesPublished February 14th 2012 by Knopf
"I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid."
This is a story that grade school children should read or have read to them. It teaches tolerance, kindness and inclusiveness.
August, or Auggie, was born with a cleft palate and or facial deformities. His mom homeschooled him but in this 5th grade year, they (parents and son) decided to mainstream him. Of course they are all worried. The principal asks a few students to be Auggie's friends and show him around school. The kids are typical in their reactions and responses to him: shock, surprise, bullying, meanness, ignorance. For the most part, they try to help him and soon Auggie finds he has a couple of good friends.
Through most of the book I was having a hard time sympathizing with Auggie. Perspectives and characters were on the extreme ends, it seemed. Maybe to help middle graders really grasp what is being taught? As I read I felt talked down to a bit but I think I understood better why as I read.
My favorite scene was the camp scene.
I also enjoyed the chapters that were told from a different perspective.
Teaching without preaching
3 1/2 STARS