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~ Wonder by R.J. Palacio + $20 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash ~
The winner of our giveaway will receive a print copy of Wonder by R.J. Palacio PLUS a $20 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice). But first, let me share a bit about the book:
Author: R.J. Palacio
Year Published: 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Recommended Ages: 8+
My Thoughts: Wonder introduces us to August (“Auggie”), a 10 year-old boy who is born with a horribly disfigured face. Homeschooled his whole life, his parents finally make the decision to send Auggie to 5th grade in the local public school. What follows is an incredible story of family, friendship, and the triumph of humanity and kindness.
Every now and then, a book moves me. Wonder is that kind of book – the kind where you run into other parents in the school yard, you chat with your children’s teachers, you call up your friends and family with kids and say: YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. Everyone should read this book. No, wait… every middle grade school should read this book. It should be part of middle grade curriculum. No, everyone should read this book. There’s a lesson here for everyone.
Auggie is one of the most endearing main characters I have run across in a very long time. As he is introduced, we do not know exactly what is wrong with Auggie or why. This is what the author does so well, in revealing his disfigurement, providing only small glimpses so that we get to know the real Auggie before we can only see him as horribly disfigured. Of course, we have that luxury as readers, but those who would encounter Auggie in person would see his disfigurement right away; thus, as readers, we have a very different experience in getting to know Auggie.
Based on what we know about bullying in schools, we would anticipate that a child like Auggie would be a magnet to being abused, mocked, or excluded. This DOES happen, but what is so beautiful is that there are many other children who look past Auggie’s “face” and see what a “wonder”-ful person he is on the inside – something we see as readers all along. Additionally, these children go a step further to stand up to the bully and choose their own path. This is so well done!
And then there is Mr. Browne, the English teacher, and his precepts. Each month the children are giving a precept (i.e., “motto”, “quote”, etc.) to ponder and write an essay about. While there are many noteworthy ones I can highlight, it is the first that is the most poignant:
WHEN GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING RIGHT OR BEING KIND, CHOOSE KIND
I just about had a heart attack when I read that! I have been living by those EXACT words for 20 years after I first encountered a similar quote in the 1950’s movie Harvey starring Jimmy Stewart (by the way, there are many, many fabulous quotes in that movie). This is the quote from the movie:
Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
Same idea right?! So, although there are other equally relevant precepts, this is the one that will stay with the reader because it is so simple: We can choose kind. As I was reading through the book, I was thinking to myself, “This is not going to end well.” I was oh-so-wrong and I can say that at the end, tears streaming down my face I felt HOPE that if just given the words, given the options, children CAN choose kind.
I honestly can’t rave enough about this book.
One note however … my 10 year-old daughter read this book as well. She did enjoy it, but I really sensed that it underwhelmed her. I think that at her age, there is an expectation that a book is purely entertaining. That is, books should be filled with fantasy, magic, adventure, alternate realities, and so on. This is not THAT kind of book. This is REAL. This is a book that elicits 101 great discussions and that is why I think it she wasn’t over-the-moon about it the same way I was. I still think it should be required reading in school.
And now, I want to pass it on to you…
Prize: One winner will receive a a print copy of Wonder by R.J. Palacio PLUS a $20 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice).
Contest runs: June 4 to 10th, 11:59 pm, 2013
Open to: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email!
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