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Saturday, August 11, 2012

MMGM: Review and GIveaway of Wonder by R.J. Palacio

WONDER
by R.J. Palacio
Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0
Grades 3 and up
Reviewed from purchased copy.

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

This book has received a lot of praise this year, even many predictions as to its award-winning possibilities. I am not going to dispute that possibility because I wholeheartedly agree with all the hype. I loved this book.  I loved Auggie and his courage in facing public school for the first time. The courage it took for his parents to send him to public school knowing he would likely face poor treatment by some. Auggie's sister's struggles with feeling overlooked and wanting attention for her own abilities and concerns rather than receiving attention simply for being Auggie's sister. The format of the story (multiple viewpoints) gives the reader more depth as far as what other people are thinking and feeling and what Auggie is thinking and feeling.  For me this made for a book that was truly heart wrenching at times. There was more than one occasion where I wanted to hold Auggie in my arms and just love him.

I thought the way the author told the story from multiple viewpoints was brilliant and makes for a great book for teachers.  The main theme of the power of kindness shines through bright and clear, and yet the author never says it directly, she just shows it beautifully through the words and actions of the characters. I've read a few criticisms that the ending is too idealistic and maybe it is to some degree, but then I think of actual news stories I've read about such things and then no, I don't think the ending is too idealistic. In fact, I love the ending. For me the really powerful part of the ending is not that Auggie's problems have all gone away, because they haven't and certainly unkindness can be found almost anywhere, but that Auggie has grown into a stronger person, as have those closest to him, and after all, isn't that what life is about? Being the best person we can be. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. 

I recommend that you check out the website that goes with this book, and the Choose Kind campaign. I plan to use both this book and the website with my students at school.

I enjoyed this book so much that I've decided to give away a copy to one of my readers. To enter you just need to be over 13 and be able to receive the book through Amazon or The Book Depository. See the form below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

11 comments:

  1. Thank you for this giveaway! I've heard many amazing things about Wonder.

    Hmmm... nice things. I help the struggling students for free when they need my language skills (I study Korean), especially before the exams but not only. :)

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  2. That would be...Hmm... Recently, Philippines was flooded and I had no internet connection for almost a week. When I got online, I was touched by everyone`s worry for me. Yeah, our house was flooded like most of the country did.

    I think this is a bit irrelevant but it`s what I first thought of. :)

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  3. This book, WONDER, is starting a new approach to kindness in our schools. Thanks for sharing your literacy inspiration!

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  4. This is the first I heard of the campaign--what a great idea. Bless the author and everyone who participates!

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  5. Sometimes the kindest acts are the smallest ones! Last week I was a visitor at church as we were traveling and found myself sitting alone during the last class. Another woman saw me and came over to sit down next to me and made me feel very welcome!

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  6. I asked someone for directions and they were very kind in giving me detailed (look for this landmark type) directions so I wasn't late to my job interview.

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  7. The most recent thing that I can remember doing is helping an elderly bling man (a stranger) across the street through a crosswalk. I worked at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind for a while and learned about how to guide a sight impaired person, so I was happy to use my skills in this instance.

    Thanks for making this book available through a giveaway. I've been "wondering" about it. ;)

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  8. This is one of favorite reads of all time. Please don't enter me in the giveaway because I already have a copy and want someone else to have the wonder of Wonder.

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  9. Yes! Love love love this book. This is a book that makes you cheer (and I predict Newberyish things ahead). It's been featured a lot on MMGM and it deserves every recommendation. So happy to see it here too, Heidi. Like Barbara, I already have a copy, so I won't enter your giveaway. Make someone else cheer!

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  10. Amazing review of Wonder! I borrowed this book and loved it. I would love to own a copy and share it with others. I fell in love with Auggie and thought the story was brilliant. The message of kindness is so important. I know my co-author is using it as her first read aloud with her 5th grade students this year. We reviewed Wonder on our blog a month ago and we were thrilled to interview RJ Palacio. Thanks fo sharing your review. :)
    ~Jess
    http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/

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  11. I love your review! I've been meaning to read Wonder for the past few months as I've heard nothing but positive feedback on it.

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