Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Good in All Respects

Wonder by R.J. Palacio


This is a really good read and a great book for young people.  It's hard to find something about the book that I didn't like.  It has won several awards and rightly so!  It's an easy read for middle school-aged students.  It is very approachable, and not heavy-handed or preachy with the subject matter. 

The main character is August, a boy who has always been home-schooled but who enters school in the fifth grade.  While that would be enough of a meaty plot, August has severe facial deformities due to a genetic condition.  Some description of this is given but, August, like the rest of us, seems to be his own worst critic. 

The book is told from alternating points of view and this makes the story so much richer.  (Dear teachers, this would be a great point-of-view lesson having certain groups read only one character.)  I though Auggie's sister's (Vi's) chapters were the most powerful, but I really loved how all the different character's point of views painted a whole picture of August and his situation.  I love that Palacio didn't pity her character or cut him any breaks.  The brutality of the story made it seem more fair.

It is a book for either a boy or girl of any age.  It has a universal appeal even though it's a situation not many can connect with, at least not initially The story shows the very best of childhood innocence and forgiveness.  This story is also about the important topics of bullying and being a true friend, but also about acceptance, kindness and humanity.  It's about looking beyond our own concept of outward beauty to see the true beauty within.

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