6. Palacio, R. J. . Wonder. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. 315 pages. Tr. $13.98 ISBN 9780375869020
Brief Plot Description: This novel is about a ten-year-old boy named August Pullman who was born with facial abnormalities. Because of his unusual face, he had to face spurn and insults from his classmates when he entered fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan. Longing for others’ equal treatment, August struggles with all the difficulties he encounters.
Genre(s)/Subject(s): realistic fiction, disabilities, friends and friendship, adolescent issues.
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Awards: West Australian Young Readers' Book Award (WAYRBA) for Younger Readers (2013), Carnegie Medal in Literature Nominee (2013), The Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children's Literature Medalist (2013), NAIBA Book of the Year for Middle Readers (2012), Waterstones Children's Book Prize (2013)
Books Similar in Style, Content, Theme, or Characters: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, Ok for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Programming/Lesson Ideas: Librarians can suggest that children observe disabled people around them and discuss their thoughts after observation. There are many moving stories about famous people with disabilities such as Stephen Hawking, FDR, and Ralph Braun. Children can research stories about them and learn how they succeeded in life despite their physical impairments.
Personal Thoughts: Studying students with special needs is an important subject for ordinary students because it introduces the world of disabled people to them. Wonder is a good book on this topic that allows readers to see the world from the perspective of the disabled, so that they can learn empathy and respect. The book is also about self-acceptance, which encourages disabled students to stay optimistic and have high self-esteem. Children can learn from the strengths of August to cope with their own difficulties in life.