Auggie was born with not one, but two rare birth defects. Because of this misalignment of his genes (or as some doctors explained it a “chromosome rearrangement” (page 105)) he did not look like other people. Some people were frightened of him, some stared at him, while others pretended not to notice.
All Auggie wanted was to be thought of as an ordinary kid. He’d been homeschooled all his life, but now as he prepared to enter fifth grade his Mother decided he needed to go to school with other children. Beecher Prep, Auggie’s new school, was a small private school within walking distance of his home. And that’s where this story begins as Auggie learns he has been admitted to the school. Fifth grade classes start in just a few days.
Wonder is not just Auggie’s story, though he’s the center of attention. It’s the story of his family. Of how they adapted to his special needs over the years and how now they try to help him adjust to school. It’s also the story of the other fifth graders in Auggie’s classes, especially the three students who were asked to help him acclimate to Beecher Prep. There are also teachers and the principal who must overcome their own concerns as they help students accept Auggie as just that ordinary kid.
This first novel by R.J. Palacio has received widespread positive reviews in many library and literary publications. An inspiration for this book comes from the lyrics to the song “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant.