In R.J. Polacio’s Wonder, 11 year old August Will, known as Auggie to most, was born with a facial deformity. He’s had 27 surgeries and has never gone to a public school. Most people think he hasn’t gone to a “normal” school because of the way he looks. But having 27 surgeries has also made it kind of tough to keep up with everyone else.
Auggie’s parents decide it’s time to enroll him in public school because they believe it will be good for him. Auggie thinks differently. His world is his house and the block he’s grown up on. Everyone in the neighborhood knows him and doesn’t make the “whoa” face when they greet him on the sidewalk.
He’s understandably shy when meeting people, especially kids, and stares at his feet when talking. He catches the split-second emotions and thoughts on people’s faces when they meet him for the first time. Some are overly nice. Some fumble with their expresions and words, and others are downright rude.
Despite all of this, Auggie decides to give public school a chance. I think Auggie is the bravest kid ever. I’m 34 years old and I still have flashbacks to middle school. Ugh. Kids don’t often have an internal filter and many innocent and malicious things fall out of their mouths in equal measure.
Auggie is prepared for the stares, the gasps, even the insults. Auggie ignores it most of the time when people stare at him or make comments. He keeps it to himself even though it hurts. His sister, on the other hand, goes after anyone who hurts her brother.
The one thing Auggie isn’t prepared for is making friends. Kids are strangely drawn to Auggie, some because they’re curious about his deformity, others want to prove to themselves (and their families) that they can be friends with someone who is treated like an outcast. But some just end up making him wish he’d never decided to try middle school in the first place.
Wonder is the story of Auggie, his strong connections to his family, and the friends he makes along the way. He finds out that his real friends are those who can look beyond his face and see the real him: a normal kid who plays XBOX, loves his dog and is obsessed with Star Wars.