Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Wonder of Wonder

The amazing author of WONDER, R.J. Palacio and me
 Three weeks ago I saw a tweet from John Schu saying that the amazing writer R.J. Palacio was coming to Anderson’s Bookshop to promote Wonder. I immediately told John I was interested in coming and he kindly got me a ticket. I thought it would be a fun day but it was so much more.

I arrived in Naperville early. My iPhone has been having major issues and we aren’t lucky enough to have an Apple Store in Central IL, but Naperville does. I arrived at my appointment, had my phone taken, was given a new one, and was on my way. I walked out of Apple and glanced across to see this:
Anderson's Bookshop - Naperville

We talk – or tweet- so much about Anderson’s on Twitter and it is just a bookstore. But, as I told my husband when I got home, it is so much more than that. It’s an independent bookstore - I love to support those whenever possible. It obviously celebrates children; there are children books in about half of the store. It brings authors in to be celebrated. In doing so, it allows kids to meet these people who have often become their heroes. At its heart, Anderson’s celebrates books and their readers.

I wandered in and began looking for the books on my list. My top three weren’t there ( I would find out later that John had bought all the copies of two of them and one wasn’t out yet.) :) I quickly found several others that I wanted and continued to meander through the aisles. After about an hour I checked out.

Then I moved on to other stores in town before meeting my friend Jen for lunch. Jen’s student Michelle had come with her, and Michelle’s family. Michelle has some similarities to Auggie in Wonder. It was an honor to meet her, her sister, her mom, and her nurse. A wonderful family, the hour passed quickly.

When we returned to Anderson’s it was just about time for the event. I found Donna and John, met some new friends as well. We caught up quickly and then R.J. Palacio came out. She was just wonderful. This is, amazingly, her first book. She spoke about the inspiration for writing Wonder, when she found time to write, her family, the future for Auggie, and more.

After she was done we got a chance to get our books signed. John had bought our tickets pretty early so we were towards the front. I loved getting to pass on the message from my son, Luke, who has read Wonder that he thinks it is a simply amazing book. It was a pleasure to watch RJ Palacio interact with people in line. She was simply warm, genuine, and kind to everyone.

After leaving Anderson’s some of us wandered down a few doors to catch up some more. We laughed at how many books we had between the five of us. The conversation moved from discussing the book, Twitter, school libraries, #nerdbery, and what books we love. All too soon it was time to go home. I went back to John’s car where he gave me three amazing gifts – the two books I was trying to purchase and a #wonderofwonder CD. (Songs that are mentioned in the book)

On the first hour of my three hour drive home I listened to the CD over and over, reflecting on how you can enjoy the company of these people that you know mainly through a social network. I also thought about how a book as amazing as Wonder can change you. John said when he talks about Wonder he holds it close to his heart as he talks about it. I do too. This book is so important to me.

In that vein, I was trying to think about how to thank John for all of the books he gives me. How to thank R.J. Palacio for writing this book. And I can’t think of a better way than to give away one copy of this book. So, please add your email below if you want a free copy of Wonder

Giveaway Rules
1. The giveaway will run from April 15 to 11:59 PM on April 20.
2. This contest is open to people living in the continental United States.
3. You must be at least 13 to enter.
4. If you can, please pay it forward. Thanks!