Wonder (Random House, 2012) by R.J. Palacio is a wonder of a book. It's about ten-year-old Auggie Pullman who has a facial deformity, who himself says "Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." Due to all his surgeries he's never gone to school before, but now in fifth grade is going to go. He knows kids will stare. But what he wishes they knew was how ordinary he is inside. Takes one brave kid to face being the new kid in these circumstances.
The story begins with Auggie's viewpoint, but we also hear from his older sister Via and others in his life. The book has rightfully earned a lot of starred reviews and is so appropriate for our times. May all the kids who read it have compassion on those who are different.
I love this comment the author makes about the book in an interview: "... I love that people are responding so well. I love that they're getting that this really isn't just a book about a kid with a facial anomaly: it's a celebration of kindness. The impact of kindness. I think that's why people are so moved by parts of the book. We like to see people doing good, rising beyond our expectations to do something noble. It's not the big heroic gestures but the small moments of kindness that shape the world." Read more here.