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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wonder | R.J. Palacio

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

Genre: Children’s Middle Grade. 
Number of Pages: 315.
Perspective: First. 
Location: Upper Manhattan, New York.

Wonder is the story of Auggie, a young boy who has been homeschooled his whole life because of his severe facial deformity. At the age of ten, he decides to go to public school. He is called a freak and shunned, but all it takes is a little kindness to turn things around. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I have heard so much about this book. All my elementary teacher friends read this book aloud to their fourth or fifth-grade classes. One of my younger sisters also read it in her class. Simply put, this book is a phenomenon. So I had my hopes up pretty high for this book. 

I was a great book, so I was surprised how long it took me to get through. I figured that I should be able to get through a middle-aged children’s book in a day, maybe two. Nope. It took me about three months to finish. Granted, I kept getting sidetracked by books with a more pressing deadline, but I was not expecting this to be such a time commitment. A lot of schools also spend a good chunk of the entire year reading this book, since they read a few chapters a week. For a children’s book to be this long, it needs to be able to hold a child’s interest. I think it does succeed in doing that. 

This book is important. I think a lot of children say and do things without thinking about how it affects other people. They may run away from the “weird” kid during recess, or laugh and whisper about someone who looks a little different. A few weeks or months later, those bullies, will forget the “little” actions or remarks they made. The person being bullied, however, will mentally replay certain moments of their childhood for the rest of their lives. I think this book teaches children to be aware of their actions and to be kind. 

This book is probably most effective as a read aloud. There are a lot of things that happen in this book that could be inappropriate for elementary kids…unless it is discussed. It would be great to look at topics like bullying, breaking the rules, etc. and discuss them with kids so they can decide how to act in certain situations. There were a few times while reading this book that I was shocked that so many elementary students are reading this. It is definitely more appropriate for middle schoolers. So my final suggestion is this: this book is okay for middle schoolers to read independently, but for elementary schoolers, it should be read with an adult.

This book is also great because of the character development. Middle childhood is a time of a lot of changes. This book can help kids make the right choices and changes. I also liked that this book has a lot of boys as the main characters. It can sometimes be hard to find good quality children’s books with male leads. 

I do highly suggest this book. I just caution everyone to be aware of the big time commitment, especially for slower readers. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“Now that I look back, I don't know why I was so stressed about it all this time. Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.“




 4/5 Stars