Monday, February 13, 2012

Wonder R.J. Palacio

How do I review a book as amazing as R.J. Palacio’s Wonder? Let me backtrack to how I came to meet this amazing book.

I watched with intense jealous a few weeks ago as Colby Sharp and John Schu exchanged tweets about this book. (click on their names to go to their site and Wonder blog posts)

Then Franki Sibberson read it.

It began to be talked about more and more. Oh how I wanted this book.

Luckily for me, John Schu had a giveaway on his website. I never win these things so I almost didn’t enter. But sure enough, I did!

I waited, and waited, and it arrived last Wednesday night. Oh the humanity! My only night of grad school. It was as if I had morphed back into thirteen year old me. I had the book hidden behind my laptop as I tried to sneak a quick read during the class. Drove home, stayed up the rest of the night to finish it. Yowza. This book packs a powerful punch.

Wonder follows the story of  fifth grader Auggie Pullman. He hit the genetic lottery and was born with severe facial deformities resulting from a condition called Treacher Collins.

Auggie has always been homeschooled due to his medical needs and his parents’ fears over how kids might treat him. This year they have decided it is time to try out public school.

Wonder follows Auggie in his journey through his first year in public school. As a teacher, I appreciated that Palacio didn’t make the kids either all evil or all good, there was a mixture of reactions in the way the kids treated Auggie, which I think would be accurate.

I loved how Palacio switched the point of view occasionally. While sometimes I didn’t want to be pulled out of Auggie’s head, it was helpful to see what his sister was thinking, or his friends.

I think this book is a gift. It will lead to amazing discussions in classrooms about Auggie’s courage, the need for kindness, and the fact that bravery can take many forms. And while I received my copy as a gift, I will be purchasing one for my oldest son’s class, my school library, his school’s library, and another one for my classroom. Wonder is available for purchase on Valentine’s Day and I can’t think of a better gift.

Enjoy this beautiful book.