Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: R.J. Palacio
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Encouraging all readers to exercise a little more kindness, Palacio explores different levels of what it is to be mean and inspires a desire to avoid being unkind and to be more benevolent. Auggie was born with a facial deformity. His appearance is different enough to initially spark fear, distrust, and discomfort in almost all his first encounters. He's used to it. It's been that way his whole life, and while it is perpetually hurtful, he approaches the subject with humor. Making the switch from being home schooled, to entering the cruelty of middle school ignites a painful growing experience not only for Auggie, but all those he interacts with as everyone involved learns the importance of kindness.
Some kids are rude on purpose. Sometimes kids aren't trying to be blatantly rude, but still are due to an insensitivity. Sometimes adults are rude. Some adults place their objectives higher than anyone else and don't really care who they tread on to get what they want. Some adults simply give too much or too little attention to sensitive subjects. Palacio delves into a multitude of unkind behavior, helps readers recognize potential scenarios where they could improve, and convinces everyone of the importance and the potency of kindness. A vital read for middleschoolers or those about to enter middle school, but really anyone and everyone will walk away from Wonder a bigger and more understanding person than before.