Wonder by R J Palacio
Now a major film adaptation
I know I’m not an ordinary 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 playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.
Author Raquel Jaramillo, who wrote Wonder under the pen name R.J. Palacio, is a one-time book cover designer and a mother of two boys. It was the act of buying ice cream with one of those boys that lead to her writing the story of Auggie Pullman, when she became anxious about her son’s possible reaction to the visible facial differences of a little girl in the queue.
Her book is an emotional, important tale of a 10-year-old boy with ‘mandibulofacial dysotosis’ or ‘Treacher-Collins syndrome’ – or in plain English ‘rare facial birth disfigurement’. Auggie has had 27 operations, yet his first foray into school life, having been home educated to this point, isn’t so much about what he looks like (“Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse”) and more about how people react to him. At Beecher Prep he meets both with cruelty and bullying and with acceptance and kindness, but Jaramillo says it was the latter that was more interesting to write about.
Wonder’s three million-plus readers clearly think so too, and the book has inspired the ‘Choose Kind’ movement based on an idea presented by principle Mr. Tushman in his graduation speech: “If every single 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 would be a better place.”
'The book undoubtedly, and skilfully, manipulates the emotions of readers (watch out dog-lovers in particular) but it will delight children and adults because it's a terrific story and Palacio is exploring some fundamental truths about how humans behave. And how they should behave.’ – The Telegraph
Our favourite quote: 'Kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.'
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