Friday, February 8, 2013


Palacio, R.J. 2012. WONDER. New York, NY: Alfred Knopf. ISBN 9780375869020 [Suggested Grade Levels 4 – 8]

August Pullman was an ordinary ten year old boy who loves to do the ordinary things that most boys do. Yet, being ordinary is something that August feels on the inside for his shocking facial features are far from ordinary. Due to genetic anomalies, August has suffered through numerous surgeries, public isolation, and has been the central focus of his family. Now, after five years of homeschooling, August will begin fifth grade at a local prep school, and he isn’t sure if this is the right thing for him to do.

Being the new kid at school is hard enough but when you have an extraordinary face, life gets that much harder. Yet with an almost unshakable spirit Auggie makes it through the comments, the staring, and the inevitable bullying. Along the way he touches lives, gains new friends, and grows into a strong self-confident young man.

As a character August, or Auggie, speaks in a voice that is believable with the characteristics of a ten year old boy. Circling Auggie, doting parents and a sister lend their voices to an unforgettable story. Palacio has written a work that clearly brings to the reader an insight into the life of a person with facial deformities. More importantly, the author creates a forum for understanding and creating empathy for those who are different from the physical norm.

This novel provides an excellent forum for Socratic dialogue and the development of empathy for others. It would also lend itself well for small book groups and counseling sessions.

Other books for children about dealing with a physical handicap:
Draper, Sharon. OUT OF MY MIND. ISBN 9781416971702
Lord, Cynthia. RULES. ISBN 9780439443821

By Christine J. Rayl

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