“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” – Dr Wayne W. Dyer
Mr Browne is Auggie’s English teacher and he begins every month by writing a precept on the board for his students to copy into their books. At the end of the month they have to write about the precept and what it means to them. (A precept is anything that helps or guides us when making important decisions.)
Wonder by R. J. Palacio is the story of 10 year old August Pullman who is petrified at the prospect of beginning year 5, as this will be his first year at school. You see up until now Auggie has been home schooled. Auggie is a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan, he’s clever, he’s funny, and he’s become pretty good at pretending he doesn’t care when people stare at him which they do a lot, because he was also born with very horrific facial abnormalities. He doesn’t describe his appearance other than to say, “…whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”
This beautifully written book takes us on an emotional journey with Auggie, his family and classmates during his first year at Beecher Prep school. What is so powerful is not just the way Auggie’s courage, strength and ability to overcome the huge challenges he faces is so realistically portrayed, but the insight into the behaviour, attitudes and prejudices of some of his classmates and their parents. He endures some of the worst kind of bullying and enjoys some of the best kinds of friendships.
Auggie’s first year at Beecher Prep helps everyone become more tolerant and accepting as they realise that his outward appearance doesn’t make him any different from them on the inside.
I hope this book is never sitting on the shelf in our library. I want it to be borrowed, read, loved and talked about. There is so much we can learn from Wonder. Its a book that has the power to move hearts and change minds.