Read to Them is proud to offer the special, moving, magical Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. One of the most acclaimed books of our time, Wonder has swept readers of multiple generations – a wide range of students, parents, librarians, and teachers. It is a title we’ll be talking about a generation from now.
Wonder tells the story of Auggie Pullman – a boy born with a craniofacial condition that prevents him from attending mainstream school until fifth grade. But Wonder is not a maudlin, sentimental tale to read out of a sense of obligation. Wonder is moving and powerful, and it’s filled with moments of lighthearted humor.
Wonder opens with Auggie as a winning, self-effacing narrator. He is funny with 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 honest and true – a kid that feels real. 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. 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 minor characters like his sister’s friends. It makes for an enlarging experience for readers of all ages. Every story has multiple sides, and Palacio treats us to every perspective. It makes for a story with epic scope, but with clean, clear prose that you can read to a six-year-old.
Prepare for a wide-ranging experience as you treat your families to the lessons and laughs and tears and songs of Wonder. Among the many suggested activities provided with the book, you and your students can explore the rich soundtrack that Palacio suggests for Auggie’s many theme songs. Starting with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (“Ground Control to Major Tom…”), you and yours will end up singing with Auggie and his dad from the Magnetic Fields… “I’m the ugliest guy! On the lower East Side!”
Sing in joy and wonder as you join millions of other readers who have walked along with Auggie. At the end, you will join his mom in saying, “You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder.”