Book Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder. Great book! Glad I read it. Thumbs up!!

Thoughts on the book:
Recently I finished reading Wonder by R. L. Palacio. I found the insight into Auggie’s mind fascinating. It’s just one child, one personality, one perspective, at one particular age.... but it was still eye opening. Adding in the first person perspective of those around him during this same time/same situations, added to my understanding of the situation as a whole. Some of the issues Auggie dealt with are typical 10 year old themes. Self-doubt becoming self-deprecation, for instance. But as a whole, his issues due to his differences made you realize the struggles all children go through, particularly those with an obvious difference. I appreciated the chronicling of his growth (and the people around him) throughout one year and his constant, and sadly consistent, observations of those around him was well done.

Why it mattered to me (the good books always do): 
Through my volunteer work, I am around children with special needs quite often. However, I don’t always know what to say. I don’t always know the right words to use. It’s easy for me to just treat them like any other kid. That’s what they are! They want to play, laugh, and have fun. They want to learn. They want to pet a horse. They want to explore. All of these things I get. I’m there. But the part I have trouble with is the terminology. Child with autism vs autistic child. Special needs or handicapped. At risk vs in need.

There is a lot to learn, but this book helps me appreciate the insight from within the family. They see it when someone is uncomfortable. The best we can do it to be open and honest. Ask questions if you are not sure what to say. Ignoring or avoiding eye contact exasperates the situation and increases the discomfort.


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