This is the story of a fifth grade boy named Auggie who is the new kid at Beecher Prep School. Being the new kid is hard. Being the new kid with a severely disfigured face is a million times harder. As you can imagine his peers are instantly overcome with fear because he looks so different. Their fear causes them to respond with mean words, cruel games, and all of the typical alienating types of behavior that kids partake in: not wanting to sit by him at lunch, play with him at recess, or be his partner for class projects.
Two kids courageously decide to befriend Auggie. They are kind. It changes everything. They are blessed immensely through his friendship. The story is incredibly redeeming, not just for the characters, but for the reader as well.
I was so surprised when I got to the part of the story which explains his condition. Can you believe that his facial disfiguration was caused by a mutation on the 5th chromosome? That’s the same chromosome that is affected in Nathan’s body. Nathan’s is the short arm of the 5th chromosome. Auggie’s is the long arm. When you start to learn even a little bit about the world of genetics, its fascinating that we are put together by all of these genes and cells and strands of DNA that are the fabric of our very physical being. If something goes even slightly wrong, it can drastically affect the outcome of a person’s life.
Not only did I love this book, but I think it should be required reading for 4th and 5th graders. I believe it could be a helpful tool in kid’s processing others who are different. Who need to be included and accepted just as much as all of us. It sends a message to not underestimate the value of kindness.
“Thank you, Auggie,” she answered softly.
“For everything you’ve given us,” she said. “For coming into our lives. For being you.”
She bent down and whispered in my ear. “You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder.”
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your words are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:13-14
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!