Two readers, one conclusion: Read this book!


August "Auggie" Pullman (10) is different. He was born with a severe facial difference that sets him apart from everyone else. With all of the surgeries, regular school wasn't an option, so he was homeschooled. Now that he's ready for fifth grade, his mother thinks it’s time for Auggie have a real school experience and enrolls him in a private school. Having been shielded from the world for most of his life, Auggie is afraid of how the other kids might treat him. Despite those fears. Auggie gives school a shot because he wants to feel normal for once.

Principal Tushman introduces Auggie to the school, and a very quickly, his fears were realized. Students made faces at him and he was bullied. Students saw him as a freak, or thought his condition was weird and gross. People he made friends with were questioned by classmates about why they're being nice to Auggie. Auggie isn't the only one feeling these tough times. His sister Via is losing friends and having to make new ones. Still, Auggie tries to move forward. In this first year of middle school, he learns that there are people who accept him, some who ignore him, and others who hate him. Through it all, his quiet strength helps him rise up and shine in a way he never thought he could before. 

BTSYA Teen Reader (13):
Wonder has a valuable message of acceptance which allows readers to understand that we should all be treated the same, even if we don't look it.  It also shows what bullying can do to someone and the importance of determination and perseverance. R.J. Palacio originally wrote Wonder when her son noticed a girl with a different facial appearance and started to cry. I recommend this as a geat gift for grades 3 and up. It has a simple, yet impactful message of kindness. 

BTSYA Teen Reader (17):
Wonder is a moving and uplifting story to read. For a book that’s mostly for middle-schoolers, I am taken aback by the complexity and depth R.J. Palacio weaves into the story. This gives older readers like me something to appreciate as they read. The multi-faceted characters are not defined by their roles, but by their backstories, flaws, inner feelings, and dynamic relationships (family, friends, classmates). The perspectives of different characters move the story forward. Every character, in one way or another, contributes a lesson for all readers to learn from. Auggie's family supports him, but they also let him find his own way and his own strength.

The precepts were especially intriguing to me, as they added a whole new layer of depth to the overall message of kindness. They really give readers food for thought as we watch Auggie grow in his journey. Wonder is a good text for discussions of peer pressure and bullying. I found the author's inclusion of resources for bullying and craniofacial differences to be very thoughtful. I definitely would suggest Wonder to readers 10 years and up. It would make a great gift for fans of school stories and for students in middle school. 

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Hard to put down, impossible to forget. Auggie's is a story where readers can see themselves and their peers ... and close the book forever changed.

Content Awareness Factors:

Violence and profanity are part of this story. Kids fight, and Auggie is continually bullied, verbally abused, and name called. There are also situations that occur as a part of the hardships Auggie faces that may be upsetting for some readers. In terms of romance, nothing especially major is present, as only a few of the characters have romantic relationships.

Type of Book:
This is a first-person story of a boy's struggle with his physical appearance and efforts to fit into the world around him.
Educational Themes:

Wonder is a character driven story about growing up, self esteem, personal values, community values, acceptance and kindness. Events in the story create "starting points" for talking about what happened, what could have been done differently, how your reader would react in that situation, etc.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer ages: 13, 17
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. The story is powerful and Auggie is a friend you'll return to visit.
book cover

Title Wonder

Wonder, Book 1

Author Patricia Palacio
Publisher Knopf Books for Young Readers, Imprint Knopf Doubleday © 2012
ISBN 9780375869020
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.99
Genres Friendship, Coming of Age, Health & Wellness, Social Issues, Disabilities | Developmental Challenges
be the star you are Cybils
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