‘Wonder:’ A ‘different’ boy finds acceptance in a different place

Wonder_RJ_Palacio copy

Editor’s note: The Chester Telegraph is happy to run this review of R.J. Palacio’s ‘Wonder,’ written by students at Chester-Andover Elementary School.

By Taylor Cote, Olivia Wright and Frank Kelley
Chester-Andover Elementary School

August Pullman thinks of himself as ordinary on the inside, but not so much on the outside. He was born with a cleft lip, was almost deaf and had a “deformed” face. When he was born, the doctors didn’t think he would live. But he did. He’s considered a medical miracle. Throughout the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio, August – Auggie – changes in both physical and mental ways, as do his new friends and the people around him.

August has been home-schooled, so he’s been sheltered from the challenge of being in a public school and facing kids who might be bullies to him. He can’t be sheltered forever though. After he turns 10, his mother takes him to a middle school orientation. He doesn’t like the place but feels he needs to please his mother. So in the fall he finds himself walking up the steps to face reality, afraid and unsure of himself. He makes a few friends but later finds out that the only reason the students were hanging out with him was because the principal had asked them to. So he’s right back to being alone: alone and angry at his old friends, his principal and even his mother.

Many people judged Auggie on his looks, because he was “different.”

Some people thought that he wouldn’t be the same as you and I, that he didn’t have feelings like you and I. Auggie proved them wrong. He showed them that he was one of the most normal kids at that school, he faced problems head-on and he didn’t run away from them. Eventually, he finds that most everything can be fixed – including friendships – and that sometimes people do make mistakes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad people. He also finds that the smallest acts of kindness can end in the biggest rewards. This book is not just about a boy with a “deformed” face, it’s about friendship, and how someone gets used to a new school, new people and new experiences.

Chester-Andover Elementary School in conjunction with the Whiting Library were provided copies of Wonder as part of the VT Reads Program. VT Reads is sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council. The books are now available to anyone in the community. To borrow a copy of the book, you can stop by CAES, email frank.kelley@trsu.org or visit the Whiting Library.

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  1. Jen Wright says:

    Well done Olivia and Taylor!

  2. Mycah says:

    I love it. It really describes the book really well and I think you did a good job.

  3. F Kelley says:

    Thanks Chester Telegraph for supporting our schools and our students. A copy of Wonder is coming to you soon.