Tag Archives: middle school

Wonder, by R. J. Palacio

27 Dec

By Ann Lattinville

If you’re looking for a great book for a child in Grade 4-7, you might consider Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  The story’s central character is Auggie Pullman, an ordinary kid who has overcome some extraordinary circumstances. Born with genetic facial abnormalities, he’s had over 27 surgeries by they time the reader meets him at the beginning of the book. Auggie doesn’t dwell on that though and tells the reader up front that he’s not going to describe his birth defects, so don’t bother asking.  Instead, he moves the reader right past that to his more immediate problem: he’s been home-schooled up until the present day but his parents have decided it’s time for him to start Grade 5 at Beecher Prep!

Now he’s got to navigate the social minefield that is middle school. As you might expect, there are issues with being the kid who is “different.”  But with patient, humorous parents and a few good friends who have his back, Auggie’s story of his first year in school with other kids unfolds to a satisfying conclusion.

When I went to the schools to talk to students about summer reading ideas last spring, I brought this book. Kids immediately gravitated toward its striking cover and asked about it. At one school, a student was simply unable to contain his enthusiasm for this novel and impressed upon his peers that everyone should read this book, including grown-ups. Now that’s high praise from the fourth grade! And I heartily agree with that student.

auggie

For excellent parental observations about the book, see Maria Russo’s review in the New York Times.

 

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