Cover artist Tad Carpenter
Publication date February 14, 2012
Originally published 14 February 2012
Page count 315
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Illustrator Raquel J. Palacio
|Language English, Spanish, Catalan, Japanese, German, Portuguese, Danish, Serbian, Arabic|
Subject Prejudice Self-acceptance Middle school Friendship Pet death Bullying
Genres Children's literature, Fiction
Nominations Carnegie Medal, Goodreads Choice Awards Best Middle Grade & Children's
Similar Raquel J Palacio books, Children's literature
Wonder is a children's novel by Raquel Jaramillo, under the pen name of R. J. Palacio, published on February 14, 2012.
Palacio wrote Wonder after an incident where she and her three-year-old son were waiting in line to buy ice cream. Her son noticed a girl with facial birth defects. Fearing he would react badly, Palacio attempted to remove her son from the situation so as not to upset the girl or her family but ended up worsening the situation. Natalie Merchant's song "Wonder" made her realize that the incident could teach society a valuable lesson. Palacio was inspired by Merchant's lyrics and she began writing. The book has a released spin-off, 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts. In August 2015, the book Auggie and Me was published. A film adaptation is set for release in 2017.
August "Auggie" Pullman is a 10-year-old living in the fictional neighborhood of North River Heights in upper Manhattan. He has a rare medical facial deformity, which he refers to as "mandibulofacial dysostosis", more commonly known as Treacher Collins syndrome and a cleft palate. Due to numerous surgeries, Auggie had been home-schooled by his mother, but his parents decide to enroll him in Beecher Prep, a private school, for the start of middle school in the fall.
Auggie visits Beecher with his mother and meets the school director Mr. Tushman, along with three students: Jack Will, Julian Albans, and Charlotte Cody. Although extremely self-conscious and scared of being around kids his own age, Auggie gradually gets used to school. He befriends Jack and Charlotte as well as a girl named Summer Dawson, who sat with him during lunch when everyone else wouldn't. Julian, however, barely conceals his disgust at Auggie's appearance, avoids him and often makes hurtful remarks. He bullies Auggie and hates him for the way he looks.
During Halloween, when Auggie doesn't feel like wearing his Boba Fett costume because he didn't want to make his father even more late for work, he wears a "Bleeding Scream" costume instead, a robe with a mask that has fake blood oozing out. Unrecognized, he walks around school knowing he would not get bullied as his face is covered by the mask. When he reaches homeroom, he overhears Jack telling Julian he would "kill himself" if he looked like Auggie. Feeling hurt and betrayed by Jack, Auggie decides to quit school, but his older sister Olivia, known in the book as Via, convinces him not to. Auggie confides the incident to Summer, and making her promise not to tell anyone about the issue. Jack notices that Auggie has become quiet and distant; he asks Summer why, and though she won't divulge the secret, she says "Bleeding Scream" as a hint. At first, he isn't aware that Auggie heard of what he said and believes that he's just avoiding him for no reason, so he starts avoiding him too. In December, however, Jack realizes Auggie had overheard what he said and realizes that he also heard that Jack was pretending to be friends with him, leaving Jack shocked. In science class, Auggie and Jack are partners for a project. When Julian asks the teacher if he could be Jack's partner instead, Jack declines. But when Julian calls Auggie a "freak," Jack punches Julian in the face in retaliation. As a result, Jack is suspended for two days for his actions. Knowing that Julian would get them both in trouble for bad-mouthing Auggie, Jack does not tell Mr. Tushman what happened. Julian's mother says that Auggie does not belong in Beecher Prep, as it is not an "inclusion school", but Mr. Tushman and everyone else disagrees with her. Jack sincerely apologizes to Auggie, saying he didn't mean to say the stuff he said about him, and they become friends again.
During the rest of the school year, August is bullied by Julian and his gang. They begin to leave bullying notes on his and Jack Will's lockers, eventually causing them to write notes back, though less mean and more comedic, about a fictional character named Beulah. One night, August gets into a fight with Via and his mom, and August storms up to his room. A few minutes later, Via comes inside and tells August that their mom took their dog, Daisy, to the vet because she was whimpering a lot. Later, August's mom and dad came back, and said Daisy had a tumor in her stomach, possibly stomach cancer, and had to be put to sleep. During a school trip to a nature reserve, August and Jack are attacked by seventh graders, they are defended by several members who were Julian's friends, since Julian wasn't at the trip, he becomes less popular, and August is generally more accepted by the pupils of the school.
At the years end, at the graduation ceremony, Auggie is awarded the "Henry Ward Beecher Medal" which "honors students who have been notable or exemplary in certain areas throughout the school year." He gets a standing ovation, which inspires his precept for Mr. Browne, and takes pictures with everyone (something he had always refused to do) and goes back to his house for a party to celebrate. The book ends with his mother whispering in his ear, "You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder."
The book received positive reviews from critics.
Wonder received a positive review from the trusted parent resource Common Sense Media based on educational value, positive messages/role models, violence, sex and language.
"Wonder" was on The New York Times Best Seller list and was also on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list. The book was the winner of the 2014 Maine Student Book Award, Vermont's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, the 2015 Mark Twain Award and Hawaii's 2015 Nene Award. In Illinois it won both the Bluestem and Caudill Awards in 2014.
A film adaptation, Wonder, has been announced starring Julia Roberts as Isabel Pullman, Jacob Tremblay as August Pullman, and Owen Wilson as Nate Pullman. The film is slated for release into theaters nationwide on April 7, 2017
Auggie and Me
Auggie and Me is not the second book but a companion book to Wonder. This book contains three stories, each telling the events of Wonder in different perspective.
365 Days of Wonder
In Wonder, Mr. Browne made a precept for every month. In 365 Days of Wonder, it gives you 365 different precepts collected by Mr. Browne.