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365 Days of Wonder by [R J Palacio]

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365 Days of Wonder Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,107 ratings
Part of: Wonder and 365 Days of Wonder (2 Books)

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

PRECEPTS
 
My father’s name was Thomas Browne. And his father’s name was Thomas Browne. That’s why my name is Thomas Browne. I didn’t know until I was a college senior that there was a far more illustrious Thomas Browne, who had lived in England in the seventeenth century. Sir Thomas Browne was a gifted author, a student of the natural world, a scientist, a scholar, and an outspoken supporter of tolerance at a time when intolerance was the norm. In short, I couldn’t have asked for a better namesake.
 
I started reading a lot of Sir Thomas Browne’s works in college, including Enquiries into Very many received Tenets, and commonly presumed Truths, a book that set out to debunk the prevalent false beliefs of the day, and Religio Medici, a work that contained a number of religious inquiries that were considered highly unorthodox at the time. It was while reading the latter that I came across this wonderful line:
 
We carry within us the wonders we seek around us.
 
The beauty and power of that line stopped me cold, for some reason. Maybe it was exactly what I needed to hear at that particular moment in my life, a time when I was racked with indecision about whether the career I had chosen for myself—teaching—was full of enough “wonder” to keep me happy. I wrote the line down on a little slip of paper and taped it onto my wall, where it remained until I graduated. I took it with me to graduate school. I traveled with the Peace Corps and carried it in my wallet. My wife had it laminated and framed for me when we got married, and it now hangs in the foyer of our apartment in the Bronx.
 
It was the first of many precepts in my life, which I began collecting in a scrapbook. Lines from books I’ve read. Fortune cookies. Hallmark card homilies. I even wrote down the Nike ad line “Just do it!” because I thought it was the perfect directive for me. You can draw inspiration from anywhere, after all.
 
I first introduced precepts to my students as a student teacher. I was having a hard time getting my kids interested in the essay-writing unit—I believe I had asked them to write one hundred words on something that meant a lot to them—so I brought in the laminated Thomas Browne quote to show them something that meant a lot to me. Well, it turned out they were much more interested in exploring the meaning of the quote itself than they were in its impact on me, so I asked them to write about that instead. I was amazed at the things they came up with!
 
Ever since then, I’ve used precepts in my classroom. According to Merriam-Webster, a precept is “a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action.” For my students, I’ve always defined it in simpler terms: precepts are “words to live by.” Easy. At the beginning of every month, I write a new precept on the board, they copy it, and then we discuss it. At the end of the month, they write an essay about the precept. Then at the end of the year, I give out my home address and ask the kids to send me a postcard over the summer with a new precept of their own, which could be a quote from a famous person or a precept they’ve made up. The first year I did this, I remember wondering if I’d get a single precept. I was floored when, by the end of summer, every single student in each of my classes had sent one in! You can imagine my further astonishment when, the following summer, the same thing happened again. Only this time, it wasn’t only from my current class that I received postcards. I also got a handful from the previous year’s class!
 
I’ve been teaching for ten years. As of this writing, I have about two thousand precepts. When Mr. Tushman, the middle-school director at Beecher Prep, heard this, he suggested that I collect them and turn them into a book that I could share with the world.
 
I was intrigued by the idea, for sure, but where to start? How to choose what precepts to include? I decided I would focus on themes with particular resonance for kids: kindness, strength of character, overcoming adversity, or simply doing good in the world. I like precepts that somehow elevate the soul. I chose one precept for every day of the year. My hope is that the reader of this book will begin every new day with one of these “words to live by.”
 
I’m thrilled to be able to share my favorite precepts here. Many are ones I’ve collected myself over the years. Some were submitted by students. All mean a lot to me. As I hope they will to you.
 
—Mr. Browne
 
 
 
JANUARY 1
 
We carry within us
the wonders we seek
around us.
 
–Sir Thomas Browne
 
 
 
JANUARY 3
 
Three things in human life are important:
the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third
is to be kind.
 
—Henry James
 
 
 
JANUARY 7
 
The two most
important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you
find out why.
 
—Mark Twain
 
 
 
JANUARY 12
 
How wonderful it is that nobody need
wait a single moment before starting to
improve the world.
 
—Anne Frank
 
 
 
JANUARY 13
 
However long the night...
the dawn will
break.
 
—African proverb
 
 
 
JANUARY 16
 
Just be who you want
to be, not what
others want to see.
 
—Unknown
 
 
 
JANUARY 18
 
Make kindness your
daily modus operandi and change your world.
 
—Annie Lennox
 
 
 
JANUARY 20
 
Have you had a
kindness shown?
Pass it on.
 
—Henry Burton --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 3–7—Palacio's masterpiece, Wonder (Knopf, 2012), has spawned a nonfiction companion featuring precepts, or words to live by, from Beecher Prep's beloved teacher Mr. Browne. The book opens with Mr. Browne discovering his love of precepts in a line from a book written by his namesake, the 17th-century English author Thomas Browne: "We carry within us the wonders we seek around us." What follows is an incredible collection of sayings, many that emphasize the importance of kindness. Presented in calendar format, including the month and day, though not the year, the 365 precepts are collected from great literary efforts, the annals of history, and the contributions of child readers of Wonder, chosen by Palacio herself. Each month concludes with a written offering from Mr. Browne, with intermittent input from Wonder's most important characters. These salutary compositions fill in missing details from the original story, provide an update for the characters, and expand on the meaning of the precepts. What seems by description a novelty item is in fact anything but. The quality of the selections, the closure obtained from the added Wonder details, and the thought-provoking opportunities for teachers, parents, and students make this a recommended purchase for libraries where Wonder is popular. Collections without a Wonder following may wish to forgo purchase, as readers unfamiliar with the fictional counterpart may not see the value in this work.—Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CT --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • File Size : 126357 KB
  • Publication Date : August 28, 2014
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Print Length : 432 pages
  • Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
  • Word Wise : Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Not Enabled
  • Publisher : RHCP Digital; 01 Edition (August 28, 2014)
  • Language: : English
  • ASIN : B00L577UOG
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 1,107 ratings

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
1,107 global ratings
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Sib
5.0 out of 5 stars my son loves it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 3, 2019
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Mrs. C. Carleton
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book of 'Precepts' as the author calls them
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 18, 2015
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Mrs. S. Daffy
5.0 out of 5 stars easy reading
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 16, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 29, 2018
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Rose Urmston
5.0 out of 5 stars I have bought it for my daughter for Christmas and the quality of the book is good.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 30, 2018
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