by R.J. Palacio (Available in Spanish)
Read to Them is very proud to offer the very special, moving, magical Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. One of the most acclaimed books of our time, Wonder has swept readers of multiple generations – middle school students, parents, librarians, high school students, and even intrepid elementary school students. Wonder is clearly a title we’ll be talking about a generation from now – so we are pleased that we can now make it available for those elementary schools that are ready to try Wonder now.
[We will also be developing materials for Wonder for our One School, One Book Middle School program.]
Wonder tells the story of August Pullman – a boy born with a severely deformed face. But Wonder is not a maudlin, sentimental tale. One doesn’t need to read it out of obligation. Wonder is funny as heck. Wonder is moving and powerful.
R.J. Palacio starts with August’s winning, self-effacing narrator. August is funny. He has a real sense of perspective about himself. He is reflective. He’s not afraid to admit when he’s scared or hurt. But mostly he’s funny and honest and true – a regular Holden Caulfield. And he’s normal. Readers will flock to his side when they hear how much he likes Star Wars.
Palacio’s genius is to keep the reader’s perspective moving, too. Just when you think you have Wonder figured out – she shifts characters on you. There are sections of the book narrated by August’s sister, Via; his best friend; his purported enemy; and even wild cards like his sister’s friends. It makes for an enlarging experience for readers of all ages. Every story has two sides – and Palacio treats us to every perspective. It makes for a Faulkner- or Kurosawa-like experience. Yet its prose is so simple that you can read Wonder to a six-year old.
Prepare for everything as you treat your families to the lessons and laughs and tears and songs of Wonder. Among the many suggested activities you and your students can explore the rich soundtrack that Palacio suggests for August’s many theme songs. Starting with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (“Ground Control to Major Tom…”), you and yours will end up singing and bellowing with Auggie and his Dad from the Magnetic Field’s…”I’m the ugliest guy! On the lower East Side!” Singing in joy and wonder.