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Friday, March 30, 2018

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Wonder by R.J. Palacio @RJPalacio @OUPChildrens #ChooseKind

TITLE: Wonder
SERIES: Wonder, Book #1
AUTHOR: R.J. Palacio
PUBLISHER: Oxford Childrens
PUBLICATION DATE: April 1, 2013 (first published 2012)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 400 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary
ISBN: 9780198391012
Educational edition of this warm and moving novel about an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face

Features:

An extremely moving and engaging novel that is sure to become a classroom favourite

Told from multiple perspectives, with opportunities to explore narrative, perspective, timeline and precepts

Themes of friendship, bullying, self-image and social responsibility

Supported by extensive teacher resources online and student-focused Reading Guides

Durable, soft cover your students will want to pick up

MY REVIEW:

My younger daughter's teacher was reading this aloud to the class, and my daughter wanted us to also read it together at home so that we could watch the movie afterwards.

Be forewarned: You are going to need a lot of Kleenex! I am so pleased that my daughter's Grade 4 class is using this book for a novel study. It's such an inspiring story, and it has a beautiful message that speaks to the heart of all readers.

August "Auggie" Pullman is a ten-year-old boy, who was born with severe facial deformities. He has had many surgeries in his young lifetime, but he will never look "normal" by any stretch. His mom has homeschooled him, and he has been sheltered from the public eye for the most part. His parents decide that it's time for him to start public school in Grade 5, given that most kids will be transitioning from primary to middle school so they reason that he won't be the only new kid in the group. The principal, Mr. Tushman, invites Auggie and his mom to see the school before the new year starts. He has also invited several children to introduce to Auggie so that he has an opportunity to meet some of his classmates and for them to give him a tour of the school. Auggie likes Jack, but Julian is one of those kids who act all sweet and innocent around adults but is cruel to other kids. 

As is expected, most of the kids are mean to Auggie and treat him like an outcast. However, Auggie does develop a close friendship with Jack and things are great until Auggie overhears Jack badmouthing him. Auggie shuts Jack out, and he is back to flying solo until a sweet girl named Summer befriends him. Jack pleads with Summer to tell him why Auggie won't be friends with him anymore, but Summer promised Auggie that she wouldn't tell. She gives Jack a hint, and then it all falls into place and he's horrified that Auggie overheard what he said. Jack smooths things over with Auggie and the two are back to being best buds. As the school year passes, most of the kids get used to Auggie and no longer treat him like a social pariah. The camping trip is when something monumental happens, and it changes everything.

The book is told from multiple points of view, which really allows the reader to see what is happening from different perspectives.

Wow, this book!! I laughed, and I cried!! Auggie is a wonderful character with a great sense of humor who is wise beyond his years. He is funny and strong, with an unbelievably thick skin. His older sister, Olivia, is the perfect big sister. She is very protective of her little brother and loves him dearly, but she hides her pain at not getting enough of her parents' attention. She knows that Auggie needs more of them than she does, and she steps aside and never resents him for it. It was so tough to see her hurting, too...and to hide her true feelings. Auggie's parents are the best: True partners as a couple and as parents. My heart just melted at the end of the book, and I think I fell in love with Mr. Tushman! Here's one reason why - an excerpt of his graduation speech:


“The strength of one’s courage,” he repeated quietly, nodding and smiling. He held up his right hand like he was counting off. “Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness. And this is what the Henry Beecher medal is all about: recognizing greatness."


"But how do we do that? How do we measure something like greatness? Again, there’s no yardstick for that kind of thing. How do we even define it? Well, Beecher actually had an answer for that."

He put his reading glasses on again, leafed through a book, and started to read. “Greatness,” wrote Beecher, “lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength…He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts…”

This is the type of book that will stay with you longer after you finish it, and every parent should read this book to their child so that you can discuss its many themes (the Golden Rule, friendship, not judging a book by its cover, accepting diversity, bullying, importance of family, courage, etc.). This book is not just for kids. It should be required reading for every man, woman, and child. I know of many adults who need reminding that they should be more compassionate and less selfish! The principle of choosing kindness is so basic, and it could change the world if everyone would behave with this in mind.

Other memorable quotes:

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary - the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.”

“The best way to measure how much you've grown isn't by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average-- though those things are important, to be sure. It's what you've done with your time, how you've chosen to spend your days, and whom you've touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.” 


I have already requested the omnibus from the library featuring the three novellas told from the points of view of Julian, Christopher, and Charlotte.

I borrowed the DVD for the 2017 movie adaptation starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, and we just loved it! Whoever did the casting did a phenomenal job, and Owen Wilson is the perfect cool dad and who doesn't love Julia Roberts?! It's a perfect family movie. Here's the movie trailer:



MY RATING:

5 stars!! It was superb, and I will likely re-read it again. Every parent should read this to their child!

This book qualifies as:
#11 for my Strictly Print Reading Challenge
#5 for my 2018 Library Love Challenge
#21 for my Beat the Backlist 2018 Challenge
#19 for my The Backlist Reader Challenge 2018
#10 for my New Author 2018 Reading Challenge
#11 for my 2018 Try Something New Challenge
Advanced #9 for my 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge
#4 for my Read Harder Challenge 2018
#14 for my Blydyn Square Books 2018 Reading Challenge
#2B for my Color Coded Reading Challenge
#2B for my 2018 Literary Escapes Challenge
#6 for my Middle Grade Reading Challenge
#21A for my Good Rule Reading Challenge
#8 for my 2018 Platypire Diversity Challenge
#5 for my 2018 YA Reading Challenge
#3 for my 2018 Book to Movie Reading Challenge
#5 for my Bookish Bingo Spring 2018
#4 for my Chapter Break Bingo March 2018
#3 for my March 2018 Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge

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