Wonder Download by R. J. Palacio
Click Here to Download the Book August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid-but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extraordinary face. WONDER begins from Auggie's point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community's struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
Reviews RJ Palacio's "Wonder" should be required reading in the middle grades. The book is told by multiple narrators, so we get to know a lot of feelings and how some misunderstandings develop. The most important character is August Pullman, a child with severe facial deformities. He has been homeschooled, but now that he's ready for middle school (5th grade in this book), his parents encourage him to try a private school. Auggie is not too enthused, but he goes along for a "look-see" visit. The counselor and principal have set up some student guides that they can count on to make Auggie feel at home. The visit goes fairly well, and Auggie begins his journey. He quickly finds out the importance of where you sit at lunch (table = social status). When no one else will sit with him, Summer walks over. They become friends by talking to one another. Summer thinks Auggie is funny. She sees more in him than a face. Palacio gives us the full gamut of middle schoolers, from the "plague" if you touch the wrong person to the excitement over class projects. The lesson here is kindness. Why not choose kindness when you can? I like it that Palacio also gives Auggie's older sister, Via, a voice. She has been pushed into the background due to Auggie's various needs and operations. In high school, maybe no one will even care that her brother is Auggie? Children can learn to get along and to quit bullying. As more and more kids are mainstreamed, it is important for these issues to be talked about. From wheelchairs to feeding tubes to kids with autism--no one should be made afraid at school.
I went into Wonder with really high expectations. I had heard so much raving about how touching the story was and finally decided it was time to dig in for myself. All of the praise for this one is entirely warranted. I loved this story from page one straight through to the final page. It's probably the most heartwarming and hopeful story I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
August Pullman is starting grade 5. This is a huge year for him because not only is it his first year of middle school, but it is his first year ever going to a regular school. See, Auggie was born with a severe facial deformity. He was in and out of surgeries all throughout his childhood and frankly dealing with the publicâ€™s stares and comments just wasnâ€™t something his parents were prepared to make him deal with. But once grade 5 came it was decided by Auggie and his parents that it was time to put himself out there. As I'm sure you can imagine many heartbreaking scenes come as a result of Auggie putting himself into such a public place. There were people he met in school that I wanted to punch because they were so cold, but what is so great about this story is that there were way more characters that I wanted to hug or give a hand shake. Sure Auggie meets his fair share of bullying as the story goes on, but he is always such a happy guy. I admire him, I think he has a lot of traits that people in his situation would kill to have. Helping him through everything is a great group of core friends, starting with Summer. I loved how summer was some random girl who just sat with him and day one and continued to do so. She always made him feel welcome and like he had something to look forward throughout the day. Then there is Jack, sure Auggie and Jack had their ups and downs but as we got to know Jack more I became accepting of his faults and saw that he was someone who really was trying to do the right thing, he just had to figure it out the hard way. As if these friends aren't good enough, we have Auggie's family also by his side. This novel had an amazing family unit. As his parents, his sister Olivia and Auggie all conversed with one another they became people that I loved. You could see in the witty banter between the parents that they really loved one another, I thought they were absolutely adorable. The character that I connected most with was Olivia. She really struggled with how she was often forgotten about because Auggie needed so much care. Her inner conflict with knowing that Auggie needed more attention but yet wanting to be in the limelight was portrayed so well in the story. One thing that ended up taking me by surprise in Wonder was that we were treated to multiple POV's. I had no idea going into this that it was told in that way and every time I switched the page and saw the name of who was coming up it was like a present. The POV's flowed together so well that I felt like I was always hearing from exactly who I should be in that point of the story. I also really liked the short chapters. Some are merely a page and others span up to 4 but they are all titled and tell of an incident. It feels like we are reading journal entries from each of the characters. I loved how this story was told, I loved the characters in the story and even more so I loved the relationships between all of the characters. This story dealt with some heavy bullying but it was so uplifting. I took away a message of hope for mankind, and how kindness really shines through in darkness. This is a must read for anyone and everyone. Pick this one up on your next trip to the bookstore, it will not disappoint.
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