Wonder by R J Palacio

Recommended by Hugh

Form and genre: Prose / Bildungsroman

Length: 316 pages

Summary: Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old, stared at wherever he goes. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, he has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. He’s being sent to a real school, where he just wants to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Age recommendation and challenging content: It contains content on bullying and it may impact upon children who suffer from similar conditions or have concerns about their physical appearance ; I would recommend this for Year 7. Worth noting that this book is sometimes read in primary schools, so you might want to communicate with your feeder schools before choosing this as a class reader in Year 7.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: It is a remarkable book, in that it looks at the life of one young boy from multiple perspectives, including that of the bully. Its use of internal monologue reveals its scope and ambition and makes it unique, as the reader becomes closely attached to all of the characters in quick succession, even those who make mistakes but later achieve redemption.

Other useful information: This could be an interesting text to use as part of a pastoral / PSHE programme – perhaps through the use of extracts – to show that bullying is reprehensible but can be countered by the power of kindness towards others. It could also be used as a teaching tool for writing in different voices about the same event : perhaps narrative non-fiction / autobiography.