To state it simply - this book was a wonder. R. J. Palacio's novel is a great read, but will also be a great tool for discussion to teachers and parents who read this with their children.
August Pullman is ten years old and about to attend school for the first time. He has never been able to do this because of the many surgeries and recovery time needed for his facial abnormalities he was born with. Aside from his outer appearance, Auggie is smart, funny, and into things other boys his age enjoy like XBox and Star Wars. If people can see beyond what his outside looks like, they will know what a great boy he is.
Of course school presents its challenges and Auggie is well aware of what people think of him and the snide comments they make behind his back, yet he is in for a surprise when his class goes away for a 3 day camping trip.
While it felt like this was Auggie's story, other characters narrate this book, too. Via, Auggie's older sister is one narrator. Growing up with Auggie, she has been affected by Auggie's appearance herself. Now starting high school she doesn't want to be known as the girl with the freak brother. Via's boyrfiend narrates a small portion as does her former best friend. They, too provide a lot of insight into Via's attitude and how other teen agers might respond to Auggie.Now attending school, Auggie has made a few friends: Summer and Jack. Their narration gives more background on why they chose to get to know Auggie.
This book has been getting some attention for a while. I have never read a book quite like this aimed at the upper elementary/middle grade age group and it provides a wonderful opportunity for readers to really think about how kids treat each other based on their appearance. While Auggie's problems were extreme, there are many ways kids who are different are excluded or made fun of. By sharing Auggie's point of view and feelings readers will easily see how comments affect him and be saddened for him.
Again, Wonder is an amazing book - a wonder!