Wonder is one of the books you remember. It is a story to return to time and again. It is a book that parents and kids can both relate to-and in turn, be able to relate to one another. I downloaded this book on a Saturday morning and found myself stealing moments all day long to go back to Auggie’s story. By the end of the day, I was nearing the end of the book and I found myself sad to see it end and invigorated by Auggie’s story.
August is a bright, funny boy with a severe facial deformity. He has been subjected to countless surgeries, years of pain and ugly stares from strangers on the streets of his home in New York. Auggie has never attended a real school, but his parents finally realize that they cannot provide the education he needs, and he is enrolled in a local private school at the start of his fifth grade year.
His first taste of “real” school coincides with the start of middle school-a difficult time for any kid. Palacio does a wonderful job of drawing parallels between Auggie’s experiences with fitting in and the experiences of every kid that is wading through the swamp of middle school. Each section of the book is written from different points of view-Auggie, his sister, students at his school-and each point of view clearly paints a picture of Auggie’s experience and the narrator’s perspective of Auggie’s life.
I have found that this book appeals to both boys and girls in the upper-elementary and middle school range. Parents can be comfortable knowing that although this book does delve into the middle school experience of “growing up” that incidents of sex, alcohol and drug use are non-existent. There is a mention of a party with no grown-ups present, but the character involved chooses to leave. Negative actions in the book have consequences…there are no free rides.