I have spent the past ten years visiting schools and often talking about bullying, hazing and character issues and how it relates to some of my own childhood experiences, those of my son and the content of my GP series of books. I am often asked by teachers for books that would be great read-alouds and I am very careful to recommend books that will bring forth great discussion, compassion and empathy for those different from onself. As with the main character of WONDER, I can NEVER understand how people can be so cruel as to make and already difficult situation more difficult.
Wonder is a book told from multiple perspectives about a ten year old boy who is dealing with the perfect storm of genetic facial issues who enters into the scary world of public school for the first time in fifth grade. Having been cocooned for his whole life in the nest of loving parents, an understanding and for the most part empathetic older sister and a loving dog, Daisy, he must now go out into the CRUEL world and find out if he can make it against the odds.
You will find yourself championing August "Augie" as he encounters wonderful people (Summer, one of my favorite characters) and will weed through betrayal and outright bullies (my least favorite characters).
I don't want to spoil the story in any way, but I will tell you half way through I said aloud, "I sure hope this DEBUT WRITER knows how to end this well. I don't want to invest in this book both time wise and emotionally to be let down. I assure you, there is NO let down.
I predict this DEBUT WRITER has penned a Newbery.
I have had readers come to my book signings and thank me for including them in my books. Primarily those with speech impediments, I can only imagine how this lovely little girl felt when she knew she was represented with such aplomb, dignity and character. BRAVO Ms. Palacio, BRAVO!