Librarians and book enthusiasts around the country are gearing up to find out the winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal. The award will be announced on Monday, January 28, at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting. There has been much speculation about which book will win this year, but one that keeps popping up on Mock Newbery list across the country is R.J. Palacio’s Wonder.
Essentially, Wonder is the story of August (Auggie) Pullman’s fifth grade year, however, it is so much more. I was lucky enough to read Wonder early in 2012, right after it was released, and I immediately thought, “Wow! This is definitely a Newbery contender.”
In many ways, Auggie is like most other fifth graders—he likes to play Xbox, he has a pet dog, and he is passionate about Star Wars—however, physically, he is extremely different. Sadly, this difference is completely beyond Aggie’s control, due to being born with a severe facial deformity, however, it affects almost all areas of his life.
Two major areas include going to school and making friends. Previously, Auggie was homeschooled, not because of his appearance, but because he had to undergo numerous surgeries and therapies that prevented him from having a regular schedule. Not going to school has limited his ability to socialize, make friends and navigate the outside world, so before his fifth grade school year begins his parents decide, after much soul searching and debate, that he should attend Beecher Prep Middle School.
Middle school can be hard under the best of circumstances, but it is especially challenging for Auggie. He wants nothing more than to be treated like everyone else, but it is especially difficult for most of his fellow students to get past his physical imperfections.
Though hard to stomach at times, this is one title that everyone (children, teens and adults) should read. It is amazing! Auggie is a rare gem that readers will be hard pressed to forget. Do not miss one of the best books of 2012, regardless if it snags the shiny Newbery Medal. Join Auggie, and his network of family and friend, to discover what one boy’s courage can accomplish over the course of a school year.