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Wonder Hardcover – February 14, 2012
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From the Publisher
Amazon Best Books of the Month for Kids, February 2012: Wonder is a rare gem of a novel--beautifully written and populated by characters who linger in your memory and heart. August Pullman is a 10-year-old boy who likes Star Wars and Xbox, ordinary except for his jarring facial anomalies. Homeschooled all his life, August heads to public school for fifth grade and he is not the only one changed by the experience--something we learn about first-hand through the narratives of those who orbit his world. August’s internal dialogue and interactions with students and family ring true, and though remarkably courageous he comes across as a sweet, funny boy who wants the same things others want: friendship, understanding, and the freedom to be himself. “It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” From The Little Prince and R.J. Palacio’s remarkable novel, Wonder.--Seira Wilson
#1 New York Times bestseller
A School Library Journal Best of Children's Books
A Publishers Weekly Best of Children's Books
A Kirkus Reviews Best of Children's Books
A Booklist Best of Children's Books
"Wonder is essentially ... a wonder. It's well-written, engaging, and so much fun to read that the pages almost turn themselves. More than that, Wonder touches the heart in the most life-affirming, unexpected ways, delivering in August Pullman a character whom readers will remember forever. Do yourself a favor and read this book – your life will be better for it." - Nicholas Sparks, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Wonder is the best kids' book of the year."
"In a wonder of a debut, Palacio has written a crackling page-turner filled with characters you can't help but root for."
The New York Times:
"Rich and memorable...It's Auggie and the rest of the children who are the real heart of 'Wonder,' and Palacio captures the voices of girls and boys, fifth graders and teenagers, with equal skill."
The Wall Street Journal:
"What makes R.J. Palacio's debut novel so remarkable, and so lovely, is the uncommon generosity with which she tells Auggie's story…The result is a beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.”
The Huffington Post:
"It's in the bigger themes that Palacio's writing shines. This book is a glorious exploration of the nature of friendship, tenacity, fear, and most importantly, kindness."
"Full of heart, full of truth, Wonder is a book about seeing the beauty that's all around us. I dare you not to fall in love with Auggie Pullman."
- Rebecca Stead, Newbery award-winning author of When You Reach Me
"It is the deceptive simplicity and honesty of the work that make Wonder so memorable. Every single character seems real and well drawn and oh-so human...This book is beautiful." - Christopher Paul Curtis, Newbery award-winning author of Bud, Not Buddy
"A beautiful story of kindness and courage. There are many real and well-developed characters, and they each have their shining moments. Of course, Auggie shines the brightest." - Clare Vanderpool, Newbery award-winning author of Moon Over Manifest
"Wonder is a beautifully told story about heartache, love, and the value of human life. One comes away from it wanting to be a better person." - Patricia Reilly Giff, two-time Newbery honor-winning author of Lily's Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods
"Wonder is a shining jewel of a story that cannot help but encourage readers of all ages to do better, to be better, in how they treat others in life. I'm totally in love with this novel." - Trudy Ludwig, anti-bullying advocate and author of My Secret Bully, Confessions of a Former Bully, Better Than You, and Just Kidding
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly:
“Few first novels pack more of a punch: it's a rare story with the power to open eyes--and hearts--to what it's like to be singled out for a difference you can't control, when all you want is to be just another face in the crowd.”
Starred Review, Booklist:
“Palacio makes it feel not only effortless but downright graceful, and by the stand-up-and-cheer conclusion, readers will be doing just that, and feeling as if they are part of this troubled but ultimately warm-hearted community.”
Starred Review, School Library Journal:
"Palacio has an exceptional knack for writing realistic conversation and describing the thoughts and emotions of the characters...A well-written, thought-provoking book."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews:
“A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.”
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The sheer truth of Auggie's journey is what meant the most to me. There are so many small moments that struck me to the core - e.g. Auggie's feelings about Halloween, the way Auggie has an easier time when his classmates understand that there's more to him than his face, Auggie's struggle to move past his need for coddling, even the food that Auggie eats. The most emotional moment for me came toward the end of the book when Auggie's father tells him that he loves the way Auggie looks, because that it exactly how my husband and I feel about our son.
I wish that everyone would read this book, because it will help them understand the humanity of my son and everyone like him.
I gave it five stars for kids😊
One mark of a true classic is that it seems somehow like it always must have existed, in precisely the form that one encounters it. That's the way I felt while reading this -- it read so easily, almost inevitably, as though somehow the story arose from some universal shared unconscious.
Wonder is the story of Auggie Pullman, who suffers from manibulofacial dysostosis, a rare condition of abnormality in the bone development of his face. The story begins with his family's efforts to finally shift him from home schooling to a real middle school, which to date he has been prevented from attending on account of his time spent recovering from various surgeries. The tale is told through various perspectives starting with Auggie's, who shares with us how he has had to become accustomed to the look of shock that comes over even kind people's faces when they first see him. The parents are naturally anxious about how he will be received by the other students, and wonder whether he will be able to experience true friendship.
Wonder is a brisk, accessible read because it is presented in the form of the thoughts of the characters, with no extended, meandering narration to wade through. A couple of aspects struck me as making it an especially remarkable book.
One is how the book doesn't dwell solely on Auggie's struggle alone. Of course Auggie has the roughest time of it. But it's of course also very rough for his parents for obvious reasons, and also on his sister, for the perhaps less obvious reason that she has had to receive less of her parents' attention than she otherwise would, due to Auggie's needs. She finds herself in the awkward situation of many of her own needs not being fully met, and feeling the reality of that, but also not feeling that she is entitled to resent it.
Another aspect that makes this book a treasure is how much one can't help but love several of the characters. Auggie's drawn an unlucky hand in life, but he's also been dealt some advantages: he is a smart, capable student, and has a sharp sense of humor that delights those who bother to get to know him. He also is lucky for some of the remarkable people around him: his parents, his sister Via, the remarkable middle school director Mr. Tushman, his English teacher Mr. Browne, Via's friend Miranda who adores Auggie, and two wonderful friends from school, Summer and Jack Will. Jack Will in particular grabbed my heart - a boy of modest means amid more affluent classmates, who suffers socially for his friendship with Auggie. Sometimes the book seems to depict an almost unrealistically good world, in that the fortitude of so many brave, kind people overcomes the hostile social forces surrounding Auggie. Realistic or not, it's certainly a compelling world.
Finally, the book is filled with moments of wonderful insight. Jack Will's mother is sacrificing enormously to send him to an expensive school, but the only thing that seems to truly trouble her is when she fears for a moment her children would be less than kind to someone else. Via helps Auggie to understand that, however great his challenge, he cannot live a truly fulfilling life until he realizes that other people too have problems that, if not as great as his, are nevertheless worth his compassion. Mr. Browne presents words to live by that are for the reader's benefit as much as Auggie's. And I so wish every school could have a Mr. Tushman as its head. He shrewdly understands the dynamics surrounding Auggie, and applies a subtle, yet powerful loving hand in helping Auggie triumph over adversity.
Wonder is a book that, once read, will never leave your heart and memory.
PS. For those who want to wait and watch movie instead, I really and highly recommend the book first! Happy reading!