Sometimes the things most simply said can have the greatest impact on us all. In this book written through the eyes of a young boy named August Pullman, whose face is severely disfigured, we are reminded that being a kid is tough. Being a kid who is different is even tougher. In Wonder by RJ Palacio we meet outspoken bullies, braggarts, and villains – and yet it is the more subtle “outsiders”, the children deemed least popular, that we walk away from the book remembering and holding within our hearts. The author reminds us that in this chaotic and sometimes unkind world there remain people who will stand by your side and cheer you on in the face of adversity. There are people who will go against what is popular to do what is right. And that’s what this book is about. It’s about bravery, compassion, and redemption.
In one of the final scenes of the book the headmaster makes a speech in front of the entire school and concludes with these poignant words:
Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of us adults learned a little something from “Auggie”, the unforgettable hero of this book. Wouldn’t it be a wonder if we too learned to love people not because of what they have or can do for us but because of how they make us feel. We might dare to expect the best of ourselves and others each and every day. We might choose kindness first. These are powerful things to ponder. I know this book can shape the minds of both adults and children. Share this book with someone you love. I guarantee it will fill their heart with wonder.
* And in other news – if you’ve ever wondered how John and I came to be you can head on over to Chronicle of Him and Her to read the full story. The fabulous Valerie McFarland hosted me for a Q&A at the end of last week. Check it out!