Middle Grade Review of Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (February 14, 2012)

Genre: Contemporary/bullying

Source: Library

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that has captivated over 1 million readers.

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

“Wonder is the best kids’ book of the year,” said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.  

My Thoughts:

Wonder is a surprisingly emotional book about a young boy with a severely disfigured face. He goes to school for the first time in fifth grade and deals with all the ups and downs that come with being different in middle school. He suffers some heartbreak, some embarrassment, and some betrayal, but over the course of the year, August begins to change. As he changes, so do the kids around him.

This book is so beautiful for so many reasons. August puts his best foot forward as he bravely faces the challenges that come each day. He has a wonderful support group in his family and the friends he makes. I loved the different points of view the book is told from. It gives us not only August’s experience, but those of the people he is around and the way they see him.

It’s a wonderful story about bravery, kindness, and hope. Everyone should read this book.

Content: Bullying and a few instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain.

5 STARS

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