Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
In “Wonder” (310 pgs, grades 4-8), Auggie has a facial abnormality that has made the first years of his life difficult; in the words of Auggie: “Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”
Having been previously homeschooled, Auggie enters “regular” school for the first time in fifth grade. As if being the new kid weren’t difficult enough, Auggie has the added burden of his “anomalies” making it hard for him to find a place in this new world.
As the story switches between the perspectives of a range of characters, we watch Auggie grow up. We watch him struggle with the death of his beloved dog. We watch as he navigates the world of bullies and backstabbing, of friends with two-faces, and of a sister ashamed of her brother. We watch as Auggie begins to understand the power of true friendship, and we celebrate as each turn of the page brings him to life in ways that are sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes joyful.
Through Auggie’s experiences we see the best and worst of what humanity has to offer a small boy who has been dealt a heavy burden. We see young children struggle to understand their feelings, intentions, and actions, and we are filled with joy as the courage of young children conquers the closed-mindedness of adults.
Through Auggie, readers find an honest voice, a caring soul, and a reminder that it is okay to be unashamedly who you are.
While Auggie’s deformity is extreme, readers will relate to the way he feels, the way he is treated, and his desire to just fit in.
This highly-recommended book reminds readers that their character is strong, that their voices can be heard, and that they have within them the ability to become the change they want to see and to be someone who makes the world a brighter place for themselves and others.