Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder by R.J. Palacio.   Health Sciences Library Medical Humanities/3rd Floor QS 675 P153w 2012


What was the last children’s novel you read? Harry Potter? Wonder is a children’s novel adults should read.

The novel is essentially a story about kindness, bestowed altruistically or coerced, and what it means to be “ordinary”.  The center of the novel is Auggie, who is a fifth grader beginning school after years of homeschooling. Auggie feels he is ordinary, even though his face is disfigured from a genetic disorder. The novel relates the events of Auggie’s first year of school from many points of view. We hear first from Auggie and then from his sister, his principal and his friends. Throughout the novel Palacio reframes the concept of “ordinary”.Each character faces challenges, but some individual’s challenges are much more difficult and enduring than others. In the end empathy and kindness prevail. The reader understands that Auggie will continue to face adversity, but is developing deeper understanding and the strength and support networks to allow him to navigate these challenges.

[Lynne M. Fox, Education Librarian]