People in my PLN have been all abuzz about this book for a while now so once I finished Ivan I had to satisfy my curiosity.  Wonder*, by R.J. Palacio, is the story of August (Auggie), a ten year old boy about to enter school for the first time in his life.  Born with a number of extremely rare conditions/syndromes of the maxillofacial variety, he’s been in and out of multiple surgeries for much of his life and was therefore homeschooled.

The book chronicles his fifth grade year at Beecher Prep school in New York City and is told from multiple characters’ viewpoints.  It paints a realistic picture of a loving family who has learned to cope with the many challenges that Auggie’s “deformities” brings.  But sister Via’s start of high school and Auggie’s newest journey are sure to bring about changes and additional challenges.  I found myself cheering this family on through all of the bumps in the road.

The scenes at school ring true of school life and provide humor along with pain, anxiety, compassion, and injustice.  A slice of real life, in other words!

I could not put this book down.  It is a beautifully crafted story of so many things human.  I can’t imagine anyone reading it and not being able to connect with it on some level.  I cried and cried and cried at the end–partly because of the story, and partly because I didn’t want it to end.  My only regret is that the students at my K-3 school are probably just a bit too young to share it with.

Starred reviews in both School Library Journal and Booklist.


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