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Wonder by RJ Palacio
Grade Level: 5-7
Lexile Level: 790L
Wonder Book Genre: Fiction
Themes: empathy, disabilities, friendship, the power of kindness, identity, growing up, coming of age, bullying, identity, parenting, and guidance
Wonder by RJ Palacio Summary
Wonder is a novel by New York bestseller R.J. Palacio that tells the story of August Pullman, a young boy born with a facial difference. Auggie’s parents have sheltered him from the stares and humiliation that could come with going to public school, but as he enters fifth grade at Beecher Prep, he will face challenges unlike anything he’s ever encountered before. Despite wanting nothing more than to blend in and be treated like any other kid in school, his classmates can’t help but stare at his extraordinary face, unsure how to react or accept him for who he is.
Auggie refuses to let his physical feature define him and strives each day to prove himself both academically and socially despite facing obstacles along the way. This inspiring tale tackles difficult topics such as bullying and self-acceptance, showing us that even in situations people struggle with acceptance, there is always hope for something better if we choose love over fear. Palacio has crafted an unforgettable novel full of heartfelt moments depicting life’s challenges when it comes to being different from others and exploring what courage really looks like in the face of adversity.
Auggie is a hero for the ages, one who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
Wonder Book Characters
Auggie (August) Pullman is ten years old. He loves Xbox, his dog Daisy, and he really loves Star Wars. His favorite character is Jango Fett, and he used to have a small braid in the back of his head like a Padawan Jedi apprentice. His favorite holiday is Halloween, and his birthday is October 10th.
Auggie has had twenty-seven surgeries—some big, some small—and he has some medical mysteries that doctors still haven’t figured out. All of this comes from a specific gene. His parents and his sister, Via, each carry the gene, too, but only Auggie shows it.
The way he looks makes people stare, which he’s used to. It also makes it hard for him to hear (but he has a new hearing aid that makes a big difference), and sometimes it’s hard to tell when he’s smiling. Because of his surgeries, Auggie was homeschooled for a long time but started going to Beecher Prep in fifth grade, where he made a lot of new friends.
He smiles a lot now.
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Via (Olivia) Pullman is Auggie’s older sister and a freshman at Faulkner High School. She sometimes feels like she’s not as important to her family as Auggie is, especially since Grans, their grandmother and one of Via’s favorite people, passed away. Sometimes she’s frustrated that she’s been defined more as Auggie’s sister than as Via, but she’s also fiercely protective of her brother and is a great sister and friend to him.
Jack Will is one of Auggie’s first friends at Beecher Prep. He and Auggie have six classes together: homeroom, English, history, computer, music, and science. Jack doesn’t love school, except for some classes, like PE and computer class. And lunch and recess. But having August in so many classes makes it easier because they make each other laugh in class a lot. His first name is Jack and his last name is Will, but a lot of people call him Jack Will like it’s all his first name.
Summer Dawson is popular, but she doesn’t always do what the other popular girls do. She sits with Auggie at lunch on his first day of school, and they realized that their names kind of match because they’re both summer names. They only have one class together, English, but they eat lunch together every day and hang out after school a lot. One of her favorite sayings is ‘cool beans,’ which is also a great way to describe her.
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Julian Albans is one of Auggie’s biggest obstacles at Beecher Prep. He’s rude to Auggie and makes other kids feel like they have to be, too. He’s an only child, and his popularity at school is really important to him, which is part of why he was so mean to Auggie. After spending the summer with his Grandmere in Paris, he feels bad for how he treated Auggie during the school year. He apologizes and decides to enroll in a new school for sixth grade for a fresh start.
Charlotte Cody is one of the smartest kids in her grade, which makes a lot of other kids think she’s a goody two shoes. She loves theater and dancing, and she has two sisters and a puppy named Suki that her family adopted from an animal shelter. She is friendly and doesn’t choose sides at school, and she might have a crush on Jack Will.
Christopher Blake has been Auggie’s best friend since they were little, so he was there through all of Auggie’s surgeries. Three years ago, he moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, more than an hour away from North River Heights, where Auggie lives. They don’t see each other very much now, but they chat online. Christopher plays the guitar in the after-school rock band. Like Auggie, Christopher is obsessed with Star Wars, and they both dream of going into outer space to visit Pluto one day.
Miranda Navas and Auggie’s sister, Via, have known each other since first grade, so she’s known Auggie since he was a baby. She and Auggie used to sing Space Oddity by David Bowie together all the time because of the astronaut helmet that Auggie liked to wear. Her parents got divorced the summer before high school started, and she and Via are not as close as they used to be.
Justin is Via’s boyfriend. He plays the fiddle in a zydeco band, which plays Creole music from Louisiana (but Justin is from Brooklyn). His parents are divorced, and he has an older half-brother, but they’re not very close. He loves the closeness of the Pullman family.
Source: Wonder Official Website
‘Wonder’ Film Adaptation
On November 17, 2016, Lionsgate released a film adaptation of ‘Wonder,’ directed by Stephen Chbosky and written by Steve Conrad, featuring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as Isabel and Nate Pullman, respectively, and Jacob Tremblay as August Pullman.
Wonder, a book by RJ Palacio: a good book for middle school students