As school be­gins, read this book about be­ing kind to oth­ers

Serve Daily - - EMPOWERING LIBERTY - By Deb­bie Bal­zotti

Au­thor R. J. Pala­cio wrote the novel “WON­DER” after an ex­pe­ri­ence with her own chil­dren in an ice cream store. She had quickly ush­ered her dis­traught young daugh­ter out the door when she be­gan cry­ing at see­ing a child with se­vere fa­cial de­for­mi­ties.

Pala­cio re­al­ized that as a par­ent she had not pre­pared her chil­dren or her­self for such a sit­u­a­tion and wished she could have shown kind­ness to the child in the store.

As school be­gins this year, I sug­gest par­ents and chil­dren read “WON­DER” and talk about how to be more aware of chil­dren and teens that have vis­i­ble fa­cial de­for­mi­ties like Aug­gie or any other bur­dens to carry. It is a young adult novel with courage, hu­mor, sad­ness, hope and hap­pi­ness and a mes­sage that all ages can ap­ply.

Aug­gie Pull­man is truly a won­der. He tells the reader: ”I know I’m not an or­di­nary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do or­di­nary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me or­di­nary. I guess. And I feel or­di­nary. In­side. But I know or­di­nary kids don’t make other or­di­nary kids run away scream­ing in play­grounds. I know or­di­nary kids don’t get stared at wher­ever they go. If I found a magic lamp and I could have one wish, I would wish that I had a nor­mal face that no one ever no­ticed at all.”

He has been shel­tered and home­schooled un­til age 10 when his par­ents en­roll him in fifth grade at Beecher Prep. He wants des­per­ately to be treated as an or­di­nary kid, but his fa­cial de­for­mi­ties make life dif­fi­cult for him. Chap­ters are writ­ten to show the point of view of not only Aug­gie but oth­ers in his life. In­sight into the feel­ings and ac­tions of the char­ac­ters give us a chance to put our­selves in their place and ask our­selves how we would re­act.

Many char­ac­ters in the book are won­der­ful and em­pa­thetic. His sis­ter, his par­ents, and some of the stu­dents at his new school are ex­am­ples of love and kind­ness. Oth­ers are mean and in­tol­er­ant. There are some heart-break­ing scenes of cru­elty, but there are also sto­ries of friend­ship and com­pas­sion as his fam­ily and oth­ers try to be ac­cept­ing and sup­port­ive of this won­der­ful child.

I’ m look­ing for­ward to the movie com­ing this fall with Ju­lia Roberts, Owen Wil­son and Ja­cob Trem­blay. I know the movie won’t be as good as the book, so hurry and read it be­fore go­ing to the movie. Since this best­seller has sold more than 5 mil­lion copies, it is avail­able at ev­ery li­brary and ev­ery book­store.

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