I’m thrilled to be posting on behalf of Social Mom’s Choose Kind campaign featuring one of my favorite chapter books on the planet! I met R. J. Palacio at a Understanding Our Differences event in Newton and found her to be, not surprisingly, a wonderfully compassionate and kind person.
Author R. J. Palacio’s life changed forever from a trip to an ice cream shop. She was with her two sons; one a toddler in a stroller and the other old enough to go inside to buy chocolate milk shakes for them. It was outside waiting for her son to return that she saw a little girl with her mother who has Treacher-Collins syndrome, a rare craniofacial deformity.
Because her son in the stroller was waking up and nervous that he would say something loud and embarrassing, she rushed to leave. Unfortunately, her son with the milk shakes was jostled in the process and the three milk shakes ended up splattered all over the ground. Not exactly a quiet exit.
That night, R. J. started writing on post it notes. It was the beginning of Wonder!
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
After being home schooled all his life, 10-year-old August Pullman is starting 5th grade at a private middle school in his Upper East Side neighborhood. He wonders if anyone will realize that he’s just a normal kid underneath his disfigured face, an affliction he was born with. His middle school classmates are challenged to “be kinder than is necessary” but can they? Will they? In this uplifting story, it turns out that everyone carries some kind of disfigurement that feels isolating, even though most can’t be seen. We cheer for Auggie, as we are moved to tears, that kindness can indeed change the world. Warning: this chapter book teaches compassion. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]