Written by R.J. Palacio
Auggie is not normal. At least his appearance isn’t. But his emotions and his intelligence are. Due to a genetic anomaly, August Pullman is born with no jaw, no ears as we know them, and misplaced facial features. His appearance, coupled with multiple surgeries, means that he’s home schooled until he’s ready for fifth grade. He’s gotten very good at noticing the reaction to his unusual appearance and moving on, but it’s not always easy. When his parents get him into a private middle school, he’s faced with a whole new set of challenges. The author has mastered the art of showing the many sides of an issue. Although Auggie is the main focus, we get to hear how his sister and some of the other kids view the situation. There are no huge surprises in the plot, but what is surprising is the depth of the characters and the abilities they discover. Even the principal discovers his own compassion, with tears on his face at one point.
Fourth graders and up will love the humor and identify with the bullying that happens. Before Auggie even gets to the school, his parents have him laughing about the principal, Mr. Tuchman’s name by saying their professor, Miss Butt. Perfect fourth grade humor. Kids will learn a little about genetics and facial deformity while enhancing their literacy skills. Among other awards, this debut novel was named an Amazon Best Books of the Month for Kids, 2012.