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And don't miss R.J. Palacio's highly anticipated new novel, Pony, available now!
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Beginning from Auggie’s point of view and expanding to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others, the perspectives converge to form a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope.
R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
Praise For Wonder…
USA Today bestseller
Time Magazine's 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time
New York Times Book Review Notable Book
Washington Post Best Kids' Book
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 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.”
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780375869020, 320pp.
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
About the Author
Learn more about R.J. Palacio and the world of Wonder at wonderthebook.com.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Discuss Auggie’s relationship with each of his family members. How does Via react to Auggie’s deformity? How is Via’s life affected by Auggie’s deformity? She says, “I’m always going to be the sister of a kid with a birth defect; that’s not the issue. I just don’t always want to be defined that way.” (p. 91) What does Via mean by this statement?
2. How could her parents help Via’s life be more normal even though Auggie’s isn’t? What sacrifices does Via have to make in her relationship with her parents?
3. What qualities do Auggie’s parents possess that help them to be good parents to Auggie? How do respect and trust play a role in their family dynamics?
4. How does Auggie’s ability to be comfortable in his own skin make it easier for his friends and family to relate to him?
5. Auggie’s attendance at Beecher Prep creates issues for students, parents, teachers, and the principal. What are some of the challenges that arise? How does each group of individuals overcome the challenges? What role does Auggie play in either helping or hurting the situation?
6. How does Auggie know the first time he meets Julian that he will be a bully? In what subtle ways does Julian bully Auggie? What power does Julian have to force the other students to join in his cruelty toward Auggie and Jack?
7. What prompts the seventh graders to attack and bully Auggie? In general, what is Auggie’s response to the bullying?
8. Given their friendship, why does Jack betray Auggie by talking badly behind his back? How does Auggie feel when he hears what Jack has said?
9. How do Miranda and Ella betray Via? What is Via’s response? How do Via and Auggie resolve their individual conflicts and cope with the pain of betrayal?
10. In Mr. Tushman’s speech at the end of the year, he shares this quote, “Always try to be a little kinder than necessary.” What is the relationship between kindness and overcoming challenges?