We're all wonders by R. J. Palacio
Penguin, 2017. ISBN 9780141386416
(Age: 4-7) Highly recommended. Paperback, 32 pages. Imagination. Play. Emotions. Feelings. Acceptance. Tolerance. Special needs. R. J. Palacio's best-selling novel Wonder introduced readers to Auggie Pullman an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. This novel inspired the Choose Kind movement that encourages everyone to choose kindness, be tolerant and accepting of other's unique qualities.
We're all wonders with its simple, bold statements and colourful, graphic illustrations introduces Auggie and his dog Daisy to younger readers. Palacio's desire is to help children understand the need for tolerance, acceptance and kindness. Auggie does ordinary things, riding a bike, eating an icecream and playing ball, however he does not look ordinary. On the portrait wall, even though there are students from different backgrounds, countries, with different facial features, he stands out. His loving mother says he is a wonder but he knows others see him as different.
Palacio's emotive, stylised illustrations beautifully portray Auggie's emotions when his feelings are hurt: the little boy, his dog, even the blue bird in the wagon all are drawn with their heads down looking dejected. His helmet is drawn as a symbol of protection and he blasts off across a starry galaxy to Pluto where all the creatures who have the same unique faces welcome him. Auggie is shown looking back to Earth wishing that there is room for everyone to be loved and accepted.
This simple picture book is a fantastic starting point for families to discuss tolerance, acceptance and physical differences. From the front cover, to the last page where the world is reflected in Auggie's one eye, this is a powerful picture book. We're all wonders is a key book for teaching ethical understanding in the Early Years: identifying and appreciating similarities and differences in people; exploring how people feel when they are included and excluded from groups and demonstrating appropriate language when encouraging others.