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A retired librarian friend of mine recently suggested some new books to me. She knows I love to read and that I’m always looking for new, interesting books. So, when she suggested the book, Wonder, by R. J. Palacio, I knew I needed to get a copy to read for myself. Fortunately, Amazon is at my fingertips and it took only a couple minutes to locate the book and order it. I am an Amazon Prime member so it only took two days for the book to arrive in my mailbox so I could begin reading.
I am a teacher, and I love reading about children triumphing over hardships or difficulties and navigating through tough situations. For me, stories like this encourage me as a teacher and help me to realize the difference I can make in the life in a child who might be struggling. It is encouraging to read about children who are trying to go beyond the expectations and peer pressure of their friends and do something that is better than expected.
Anyway, this story is about a boy with severe facial differences. He has been homeschooled and somewhat sheltered from others due to the negative reactions of so many people when they saw his disfigured face. This boy is August, or Auggie to his friends. He is ready to start middle school and his parents have decided it’s time to branch out a bit and try traditional school this year – if Auggie is ready for the change.
It turns out, that middle school is a difficult time to try to fit in already – even if you look “normal” but Auggie’s challenges are multiplied by the appearance of his face. He wants to be normal and have friends. He wants to be able to eat a sandwich the way the other kids eat. He wants to fit in. But throughout the year, he experiences devastating events, exhilarating breakthroughs, losses, gains, and friendships in unexpected places.
I don’t want to give you any spoilers. You can find those somewhere else. But the thing that struck me the most as I read this book were the precepts that Mr. Browne, Auggie’s teacher, shared with the class each month.
The first precept for the school year was “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” This precept stuck with the class for the year and throughout the story, the children are working through this choice.
Each section is written from a different person’s perspective so it is really interesting to see how each person responded to the same situations. They each had choices to make depending on their perspectives. They experience the tension of not fitting in differently but all are affected by it.
Mr. Browne’s precept for October was: “Your deeds are your monuments.”
The book ends with deeds of kindness making a difference for more people than just Auggie. People who thought they were doing a favor to Auggie by being kind, were actually given the opportunity to receive kindness and friendships they didn’t plan on.
I have almost finished Auggie and Me which is the second book in this series. This book expands on the impact Auggie had on the three of the other students in his class. They were challenged by wanting to be kind, but also wanting to fit in. These books are simple stories, but also delve into much deeper issues that affect all of us. What will we choose? Right or kind? What kind of monuments are we leaving behind by our deeds.
This is a story of challenges and triumphs. Tears and smiles. Loneliness and friendships. Check it out. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the books! What was your favorite part?
51 thoughts on “Wonder by R. J. Palacio – A Book Review”
Love this book and way better than the movie! My 10 year old son and I read this book together…he loved it as well!
I love that you read this with your son! What a great opportunity to talk through the challenges!
I like Mr. Brown’s first precept. I think being know nd is always better than being right. My daughter is a teacher so I am going to Recommend this book to her.
Yes, being kind! I think your daughter will love the story as well.
Nice review, makes me want to check the book out myself.
Sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for your comment! Hope you get to read it as well.
Loved the review. I will add it to my need to read list.
Hope you get to read it soon. 🙂
Loved this book! Such a great insight!
I agree! Such a great story.
I’ll add it to my TBR list!
It’s a story that has been living in my mind for a while since reading it. Thinking through the way we see other people. Hope you enjoy it.
I’m always on the hunt for a new book to read. I’ll have to add this to my list!
Great! Hope you enjoy it.
I have been wanting to read this book, even more so after watching the movie with my little ones. Thanks for the review!
I’m anxious to watch the movie now that I’ve read the book. It seems like often the book is better though, so I’m not sure! 🙂
I’ve heard great things about this book, so I’m very happy to read another positive review! I’ll add it to my list, thank you for sharing!
You are welcome! Hope you enjoy it!
Based on your review this is a book I need to add to my reading list. I love the reminder that being kind is more important than being right.
It is a great story!
I haven’t read this book, but this is a great review. I might have to add it to my list!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
I love the concept of this book. Thanks for sharing!
What a great book to read aloud with my children! Thanks for the recommendation.
Absolutely! Hope you enjoy it.
Both of my kids and I loved this book, and we all agreed that the movie was good but the book was much better. So many great messages for kids in that story. 🙂
I’m really glad you and your kids enjoyed the book! I agree with your thoughts about the movie. The movie was good but the book was much more detailed.
Sounds like a great book that could be required reading for that awkward age group! Thanks for sharing it!
You are welcome. It would be a great book for kids to read!
Sounds like a wonderful book. Being kind is always the best approach no matter our age.
That’s for sure.
I am going to put this on my list!
I hope you will enjoy it when you read it.
Already on my reading list!
Wonderful. I hope you enjoy it
Sounds like a book I need to put in my daughter’s hand. Not that she isn’t kind because she is, but it’s so good to keep them growing and knowing different perspectives.
Great idea! I loved the way the book was written from several perspectives.
I have seen this book around on Instagram and Goodreads. I will check it out!
My son and I are actually right in the middle of reading this book in our homeschool! It is so good and has such a good message.
I’m so glad you are reading it with your son.
I’ve been meaning to watch the movie… I had no idea it was based on a book. I’ll have to check it out!
I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.
Thanks! I’m sure this will be a tear jerker!
I am usually easily teary when reading this book but I didn’t find this one too be emotional. Just a great read.
I keep seeing the preview for the movie everywhere, and I can’t get away from it. I’ve been avoiding it like the plague cause I don’t want to ugly cry, haha
I had read the book first and usually cry a bucket load but for some reason this story didn’t evoke tears but rather a new understanding from several viewpoints. Read the book first! ?
oh we just watched this movie for the first time. I didn’t even realize it was a book. What a great story it is.
Glad you enjoyed the movie. I think the book adds a lot more to the story, but the movie does follow the story from the book.