(I asked my friend Erin Dinsmore to write this book review for Wonder. I really loved it and could have just written something myself, but Erin lives this book every day of her life. Her 5 year-old son has a craniofacial condition similar to the main character in “Wonder.” So when Erin gives this read her approval, you know it is authentic. Please read it. And please read it with your children when they are the right age. – HC)
“Wonder” by RJ Palacio
How do you write a book review for a book that changes lives? As a stay-at-home mom to a 10-year-old son and five-year-old twins, I just don’t read a lot anymore. But this book was a necessary read. I didn’t realize what time it was when I finished the book… in one night. It is perfection.
In Wonder, by RJ Palacio, Auggie Pullman has decided to go to public school after being home-schooled the first 10 years of his life. For most kids, that would be unnerving enough, showing up at a new school as a fifth grader. But Auggie has the added stress of looking “different,” due to a congenital craniofacial disorder. This novel, which is recommended for fifth grade and above, takes us through the thoughts and feelings of Auggie, as he starts this new adventure, his parents’ fears, his sister’s feelings, even the thoughts and emotions of new friends at school.
Palacio unfolds a beautiful story of bravery and strength by using incredible character development and emotional depth. Auggie’s voice rings true. He’s bright and has an astonishing sense of humor. At times heartbreaking in the characters’ honesty, the message is one of hope, led by the indelible spirit of a 10-year-old boy who is on an inadvertent mission to change hearts… and minds.
How do I know about Auggie’s mission? I have my very own “Auggie” who will be starting Pre-K in the fall. My Eli has a similar craniofacial condition which makes him appear “different” than others. He gets lots of stares out in public. Some are even bold enough to comment. But, even though he is only five years old, I’ve watched my son touch so many hearts. It’s a true testament to “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”. My son has already taught so many to “Choose Kind.”
My nerves are already shot worrying about him going to school “full time.” Children, in general, are kind. But I know his heart will be broken over and over and I don’t get to protect him from that forever. My only hope is that we can educate those around him to Choose Kind and he can continue to be the wonderfully funny, entertaining, loving little boy he already is. And people will “see” that.
Do I recommend Wonder? No. That’s not enough. I beg you to read Wonder. I beg you to share it with your friends, your family, your children, and your book club. The more people this novel reaches, the more hearts it can touch. And so many more can Choose Kind.
Have you read Wonder yet and what did you think? Thank you from one mother to another. -Erin Dinsmore