If you recall, I’m teaching a middle school literature and creative writing class at our co-op this year. Wonder is the first book students will read, and I thought I’d share a review here for other parents.
Wonder follows the story of August Pullman as he transitions from being a homeschooled fourth grader to a fifth grader at Beecher Prep School. It’s a tough transition on its own, but for Auggie, the switch is made harder on account of his appearance. Born with severe facial deformities, Auggie has never had it easy. People stare, point, laugh, recoil in shock… Going to mainstream school will be his biggest challenge yet.
You can imagine what he endures. A few students are kind, a few are cruel, and most don’t know what to make of the boy whose eyes sag down his cheeks and whose ears are non-existent. Day after day, August struggles.
What makes the book unique and extra enjoyable is its approach to the full story. Broken into eight parts and five points of view, we hear from August, his sister Olivia, his friends Summer and Jack, and even Olivia’s boyfriend, who makes a quick appearance towards the end. Readers experience August’s conflicts and then get to watch them again through various eyes on the outside. The opportunities for discussion are many.
Wonder was a charming story of a young boy who would prefer to walk through the world wearing a mask. It juggles the heaviness of developing courage, true friendships, and a healthy self-worth. I highly recommend this book for those tender, early adolescent ages when everything feels very confusing all at once. Parents will love it too.