Have you ever preferred your Halloween costume over your natural appearance? If so, then probably not for the same reason as Auggie Pullman of Wonder. Auggie is a middle schooler growing up with a severe facial deformity, and he likes Halloween because it’s the one day he blends in.
On Wednesday, October 25 the Arlington Reads Together committee selected Wonder by R.J. Palacio as the 2018 community read. Book discussions and other community programs will take place throughout March 2018, and the library will offer extra copies of Wonder in multiple formats in the months leading up to March.
Published in 2012, Wonder was originally marketed to young audiences but quickly found a universal following and has been translated into over a dozen languages. A million copies sold in the first 18 months of publication. Readers experience Auggie’s story through the shifting perspectives of his sister Via, his parents, and other important people in his life as he navigates the sometimes hostile, sometimes extraordinarily compassionate world that surrounds him. Bullying is a major theme.
Entertainment Weekly wrote: “In a wonder of a debut, Palacio has written a crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” This past September The New York Times featured Wonder in their “Text to Text” series, pairing it with an essay by Melissa Shang, a student at Gibbons Middle School in Westborough, MA who was born with a form of muscular dystrophy. Her essay is Stories About Disability Don’t Have to Be Sad.
Wonder inspired the #ChooseKind movement and was the winner of the 2014 Maine Student Book Award, Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award, the 2015 Mark Twain Award, and Hawaii’s 2015 Nene Award. In Illinois it won both the Bluestem and Caudill Awards in 2014.
Co-sponsored by the Vision 2020 Diversity Task Group, the Friends of the Robbins Library and the Friends of Fox Library, Arlington Reads Together started in 2002 as a way to bringing together the community through literature. The goal is to address issues, understand differences and create connections through the shared experience of one book. Watch the Robbins Library blog for program updates and news.