Author: R.J. Palacio
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Realistic fiction
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-alone
Content appropriate for: Grades 4-8
3 adjectives to describe this book: memorable, engaging, complex
I had read so many positive reviews of Wonder from teachers I respect, that I knew that I had to read this book. Frankly, though, I didn't expect to love it as much as they did. Heartwarming realistic fiction just isn't my thing these days. I was wrong.
Nothing could have prepared me for the simple and powerful story in these pages. As a fifth grade teacher, reading about fifth graders, from the first-person perspective of fifth graders, I am simply amazed by how RJ Palacio knows children.
Initially I rated Wonder 5 stars, but on further reflection I reduced it to 4. The ending of Wonder is just a bit too Mighty Ducks for me - "And everyone lived happily ever after." That's nice and feels good, but it's just not very real.
I really want to share this book with my class. I love how it illustrates the complexities surrounding motivations and impacts of our actions. I also found her portrayal of social dynamics at this age to be both accurate and instructive. I only hesitate to read this aloud because of a few references to boobs and kissing.