by RJ Palacio (The Bodley Head)

What happens when the new boy in your class is so different, you can’t help but stare when he walks by.  And shudder? We’ve all had moments when we’ve hissed at our children not to stare at someone different from them, whether it was a beggar or disabled person.   Now we hear the story form the other side, from the boy being stared at. This is one of those books every child should read to get a better idea of the human-ness behind other-ness.

August Pullman is ten years old.  He’s ordinary in every way – loves computer games, Star Wars, laughing at silly jokes and playing with his dog.  But he’s extraordinary in one crucial way – he was born with a defective gene that caused a severe facial deformity.  He’s hard to look at.  The story of how his parents decide to mainstream him into Grade 5 at a public school is told through the viewpoints of Auggie, his family and friends and it’s a wonder-filled tale of courage, strength and kindness. It makes you rethink the easy jokes and quick judgments passed when someone is different from the ‘norm’.  Best of all it strips away the preconception children may have that someone who looks different on the outside is different on the inside too. I loved reading it and my twelve year old thought it was ‘a bit sad but very good.’ It made her reflect on the fairness of life and the paths other people walk. A must read that is taking the publishing world by storm.

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