Wonder recounts a year in the life of ten-year-old August, as he grapples with a huge change in his life: he's entering public school for the first time. Auggie is just like any other kid: he loves Star Wars, and his dog Daisy, and rides his bike and plays games on his XBox. But Auggie has one thing that other kids don't have: a severely deformed face. As Auggie says on the first page, "I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." It is that kind of gut-punching, yet simple honesty that makes not just Auggie but all of the character's in this book so absolutely true and memorable. There are so many Moments in this book--moments of humor, moments of cruelty, moments of heartbreak, and moments of joy. And most importantly, there are moments of great kindness. R.J. described Wonder as a "meditation on kindness." Do you know how happy that makes me? With the plethora of books depicting kids (usually in a dystopic future) as brutal survivors, a book that celebrates choosing kindness is beyond refreshing. It's essential.
R.J. Palacio has worked in publishing all her adult life. She's worked for a long time as an art director and book jacket designer at a major publishing house. And still does! She lives in New York City with her husband (who's also in publishing), two sons, and her two dogs, Bear and Beau. Oh, and she also has a wonderful literary agent, who just happens to be the same one I have. Let's meet R.J. and Bear and Beau in today's Fido and Friend in Five!
1. How did you and your dogs find each other?
|Bear and Beau|
|Odysseus & Argos|
Hmm, that's a tough question. My favorite dog story of all time is the story of Argos and Odysseus. Argos was the dog he left behind as a puppy, and twenty years later, when Odysseus returns to Ithaca disguised as a beggar, Argos is the only one who recognizes him. The dog, now beyond old, has only enough strength to raise his head and wag his tail in recognition of his beloved master, and then he dies.
4. If Bear and Beau could change just one thing about you, what would that be?