Wonder, R.J. Palacio

It’s August!

Mireia Singleton Escofet

Wonder is the story of August a child with a rare and extremely unusual facial disfiguration. August has been sheltered from the indisputable attack he would be subject to from the outer world by his extremely loving and protective family.

However, the life of August is about to be shaken up when Mum decides it is time for him to be schooled, Dad -initially against this prospect- agrees and Auggie who abhors the idea cannot help wonder and gradually be seduced by the possibilities that school and in extension the world offer.

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” Dr Wayne W. Dyer

Palacio chooses to narrate the story through the eyes of August. Who becomes the soul and essence of this tale that takes us through episodes that any child who has been a newbie in school is likely to encounter. The only difference is that because of his physical appearance, everything is magnified in the case of August.

Every few chapter, Palacio delegates the narrative task to her secondary characters who contribute to illustrate the fact that there are not only two sides every story but as many as one chooses to listen to.

The novel is an instant page-turner, which makes it suitable for any reader and in particular I would recommend this to young teen learners of English. It is a long read but I think the multiple characters narrative form allows one to fragment the read and individually explore the story-arch of each of the narrators. Furthermore, the fact that Palacio adapts the narrative to each of her characters’ style from a pedagogical point view will help learners register a variation in language, expression and composition.

Editions

[eng] Wonder Corgi Childrens 2012 316 pages
[cat] Wonder La Campana 2012 420 pàgines
[fr] Wonder Pocket Jeunesse 2014 512 pages
[cast] Wonder – La lección de August Nube de Tinta 2012 416 páginas
[it] Wonder Giunti Editore 2013 288 pagine

Adaptations

In theaters November 17. Starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, and Daveed Diggs. Based on the best-selling novel by RJ Palacio :

Resources

Author R.J. Palacio talks with Rich Fahle of Bibliostar.TV about Wonder, her first book published in 2012 that has become a classic among young readers and as part of school reading groups across the country. While originally released as a book for young readers, Wonder has become a very popular book for adults as well, crossing age and demographic boundaries, encouraging readers of all ages to “Choose Kind.” The interview took place at Book Expo America on May 31, 2013.

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