Parents need to know that R.J. Palacio’s “We’re All Wonders” presents Auggie, the facially disfigured main character of her award-winning middle-grade novel “Wonder,” to the younger picture book audience. Here Auggie, who’s seen in Palacio’s stylized art as having just one eye, like on the cover of “Wonder,” tells readers how it feels to be treated badly because he looks different. He says that when kids point at him and stare and say unkind things behind his back that he can hear, it hurts his feelings. He encourages kids to acknowledge that we’re all different. His mom says he’s a “wonder,” and he wants people to see they’re wonders, too. “We’re all wonders,” he says. This sensitive yet direct book is great for teaching empathy and promoting kindness.
WHAT'S THE STORY?
In “We’re All Wonders,” Auggie says, “I know I am not an ordinary kid,” even though he does ordinary things like ride a bike, eat ice cream, and play ball. “I just don’t look ordinary,” says the boy who appears to have just one eye. He tells readers that kids sometimes point and stare at him, and he can hear them say mean things behind his back, and it hurts his feelings. When this happens, he puts on this space helmet and pretends to blast off into space with his dog. Looking down at our planet, he reflects, “The Earth is big enough for all kinds of people.” Back on Earth, he suggests, “I can’t change the way I look, but maybe, just maybe . people can change the way they see.”
IS IT ANY GOOD?
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This simple, engaging, and wise book is full of positive messages about respecting differences, being kind, and showing empathy - all expressed with a light touch and presented in an attractive package. Author-illustrator R.J. Palacio’s bright, cartoon-like art is a perfect compliment to the spare and direct text.
The book is never preachy and strikes just the right tone for its young audience. It could spark important discussions about bullying, treating other kids with respect, being sensitive to other people’s feelings and having empathy for their challenges.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 4 and older
Quality: 5 out of 5
Educational value: 4 out of 5
Positive messages: 4 out of 5
Positive role models: 5 out of 5
Violence and scariness: 0 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
“We’re All Wonders”
Author/Illustrator: R.J. Palacio
Genre: Picture book
Book type: Fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date: March 28, 2017
Number of pages: 32