|Published in 2012 by Random House|
R.J. Palacio's Wonder is a heartwarming story about a ten-year-old boy named August (a.k.a. Auggie) who was born with a severe facial deformity. He knows he is different and has struggled with this knowledge his entire life. Although the book's tone is serious and at times can be heartbreaking, the humorous elements in the story make it enjoyable. The book begins with August expressing his inner feelings and deepest desires:
I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary. I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in the playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go (3).
Up until now, Auggie has had so many surgeries that he has been unable to attend school. His mother
From the humorous story of Auggie's birth to this first days in the fifth grade at Beecher Prep, to his relationships with his friends Jack Will, Julian, Charlotte, Summer, Miles, and others, to the challenges he faces in the classroom and in the lunchroom at school, to learning Mr. Browne's precepts for life in English class, to adjusting to doing homework at night, readers are drawn into Auggie's world and the world of upper elementary school-age children.
The book is divided into parts written from Auggie's perspective and the perspective of his sister and
This precept means that we should be remembered for the things we do. The things we do are the most important things of all. They are more important than what we say or what we look like. They things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they've died. They're like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made out of stone, they're made out of the memories people have of you. That's why your deeds are like your monuments. Built with memories instead of with stone (65).In the Appendix of the book, readers can find a complete list of Mr. Browne's precepts for each month of the year. In the end, Auggie adjusts well to school, and his reaction when his name is called and he receives the Henry Ward Beecher Medal reveals what he truly believes: that he is just an ordinary kid:
I wasn't even sure why I was getting this medal, really.
No, that's not true. I knew why.
It's like people you see sometimes, and you can't imagine what it would be like to be that person, whether it's somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who can't talk. Only, I know that I'm that person to other people, maybe to every single person in that whole auditorium.
To me, though, I'm just me. An ordinary kid.
But hey, if they want to give me a medal for being me, that's okay. I'll take it. I didn't destroy a Death Star or anything like that, but I did just get through the fifth grade. And that's not easy, even if you're not me.
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