by R.J. Palacio
Even though he’d like to think of himself as an ordinary kid, Auggie Pullman knows he isn’t. He has severe facial anomalies; almost anyone seeing him for the first time visibly reacts. Auggie is starting fifth grade at Beecher Prep, a huge change and challenge after being homeschooled all his life. He makes friends with Jack and things seem to be going okay until the day he overhears Jack talking about him. Auggie is crushed by what Jack says. It’s a devastating, unsettling moment followed by a shift in point of view: Readers are suddenly thrust into life from the perspective of Auggie’s teenage sister, Via. Later Jack, struggling to find the courage and the strength to be a good friend, and Summer, a girl comfortable with being Auggie’s friend and waiting for Auggie to fully trust her, become the voices carrying the story. Via’s boyfriend, and her estranged best friend, also become tellers of this tale, which eventually comes full circle back to Auggie. The multiple points of view are tremendously effective, giving remarkable depth and range to Auggie’s story over the course of his fifth-grade year while developing characters whose own stories are intriguing. Auggie emerges as a boy with faults and flaws like anyone, and if there’s a bit of an after-school-special quality to the book’s ending, with Auggie winning over the hearts and minds of so many, it is also an ending pitch-perfect for readers who will benefit from having the values of tolerance and courage and friendship clearly delineated in R. J. Palacio’s surprising and affecting debut novel. (Ages 10–13)
CCBC Choices 2013. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013. Used with permission.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Millions of people have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face—who shows us that kindness brings us together no matter how far apart we are. Read the book that inspired the Choose Kind movement, a major motion picture, and the critically acclaimed graphic novel White Bird.
And don't miss R.J. Palacio's highly anticipated new novel, Pony, available now!
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Beginning from Auggie’s point of view and expanding to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others, the perspectives converge to form a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope.
R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.