The Wonder of “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

What a beautiful and uplifting book! If I could choose one book to be required reading for all children, Wonder would easily be my pick.

We follow along with Auggie as he goes to school for the first time in the fifth grade. He is nervous about going to school, because on the outside, he doesn’t look like his classmates. Upon entering the school year, Auggie fears rejection. We, the readers, see how throughout the year, despite the many challenges, Auggie is able to find acceptance.

Perhaps the ending is slightly idealistic, however, I would argue that this “ideal” ending is precisely what makes this book so powerful. Wonder provides a clear example of the wonderful things that can happen when we accept one another for who we are. I believe young readers will be inspired to find and build friendships with classmates they have previously rejected or ignored. And, I believe schools will or have already become happier places because of this book.

Although Wonder is a book about children in middle school, there is no reason why this lesson cannot be extended to the “adult world”. Let us keep our eyes open in our workplaces, in our churches, in our extra-curricular activities. What can we do to sprinkle some happiness in the lives of another? What small, but powerful steps can we take to show someone they are accepted and valued?

Acceptance begets community. And today, in this world, there is nothing we need more than strong communities. Communities of people who are willing to support and stand up for each other. Communities of people who refuse to let each other fall between the cracks.

Acceptance of diversity begets strong communities.