Last night I finished reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio. While I have to say that I didn’t love it as much as Out of My Mind, I still enjoyed it.
I love that there seems to be a genre growing about students with disabilities. They are sending such powerful messages about how we treat one another and are providing some insight about what it’s like to be ‘different.’ I think these are huge messages to be taught, especially when bullying is so prominent.
What I liked most about Wonder was that other than one short description, you really never know what Augie looks like. This left me very curious as a reader, and sometimes frustrated, but I also think that maybe it was intentional. As I read, I kept thinking, I wonder if we’re left with such an unclear picture because it really doesn’t matter what he looks like. Augie really could be any child/person with any physical disability/irregularity. What he has specifically really doesn’t matter, because I’m sure they way he was treated in the story is the way many children are treated when they look different from others.
I think this is one of the most important lessons to be learned from this book. I also loved the ending, and how it connected with the title. It is so powerful, even though I knew how the book would end, to see students recognized for their true strengths. It reminded me of my students, and how proud they are when they get recognized. That’s all any kid is looking for- positive recognition- and we need to make sure that we’re providing it when appropriate and necessary.