If you want a great book on your kid’s shelf that is totally engrossing, teaches empathy and appeals to all ages, look no further than a debut novel called Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
The story is told from multiple perspectives, but centers around an incredibly courageous fifth-grade boy named Auggie Pullman whose deformed facial features are shocking to most people at first.
But as Auggie’s classmates start getting to know him, they find a warm, funny and engaging young man who wants what everybody wants—acceptance and friendship.
At the Book Expo in NYC last week, I got the chance to see Palacio during a panel discussion on books for middle grade readers. Palacio said one thing that surprised her was the book’s appeal across generations.
A librarian from Bank Street School said teachers are literally arguing over which grade gets to choose the book for class reading. That’s been my experience, too.
I lent my copy to my mother-in-law a couple weeks ago and she was so moved by the book she had to write me a letter.
“I keep thinking,” she wrote, “what will happen to Auggie when he gets to high school?” We can only hope Palacio writes a sequel to this moving novel.
Margaret Tierney works at , an independent book shop in Darien.