Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

How many books do you own that you still have yet to read? If you're like most readers I know, it's several. There is never enough time to get through all the books we want to read and our TBR (to be read) list is constantly growing. Wonder by R.J. Placio sat on our shelf for a while until I asked my kids if I could read it to them out of the blue. I had heard about the book years ago, and had been wanting to read it ever since. Then, once we started, we couldn't put it down. My ten-year-old kept asking for "just one more chapter" as the minutes ticked past bedtime every night. Lucky for her, the chapters are short, so it was hard to justify closing up the book until I looked at the clock and realized just how far past bedtime we had gotten.

Wonder is about a fifth grader named August who was born with a facial abnormality that has required multiple surgeries over his lifetime. He has never attended school before, but his parents convince him it's time. They all have reservations about it due to fear of how he'll be viewed and treated by his peers, but with the support of the principal, they perservere. Some classmates stare at him and others bully him, but he manages to make friends who care about him and see him for the amazing kid that he is.

The book takes on different perspectives, and August's story is told through not only his eyes, but his sister's, her friends', and his classmates'. It helps the reader to view everyone with more compassion and empathy, even those who haven't been kind to August.

My daughter and I loved this book and even shed a few tears throughout it. Fifth grade can be such a difficult year as kids start to go through puberty and become more aware of the thoughts and opinions of their peers. While most kids will not have the exact same experiences as August, the book allows the readers to consider what he's going through in a relateable way. It not only inspires kindness, but also strength - strength to pass through and overcome the difficulties of life. This is really a beautiful book, and I look forward to reading the rest in the series.

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