Sunday, November 17, 2013
I have fallen in love with yet another book. Wonder by R.J. Palacio was the summer reading common book for our 5th graders. Two faculty members have talked about it during our weekly Friday afternoon community meetings. Signora passed it on to me a couple of months ago and I finally picked it up. Once I started it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. And by the time I finished it Saturday morning, tears were streaming down my face. I was sopping them up with the sleeves of the old sweatshirt I was wearing. (My baby sister Moo gave it to me a few years ago-- or maybe I "borrowed" it from her...) Later, while taking my shower-- where I tend to do my best thinking for some bizarre reason-- I came up with an idea for my advisees. I advise 7th graders and this was not the common book when they were in 5th grade. I plan to read it to them at lunch over the next few weeks. I also plan to launch what I am calling The Wonder Project tomorrow. It will be top secret, just for my twelve advisees and me. But, hopefully, many will benefit from it.
Read the book. It begins this way, with Auggie, August Pullman, narrating:
I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary. I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.
If I found a magic lamp and I could have one wish, I would wish that I had a normal face that no one ever noticed at all. I would wish that I could walk down the street without people seeing me and then doing that look-away thing. Here's what I think: the only reason I'm not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
Precepts, principles to live your life by, are given to the kids at Beecher Prep by Mr. Browne. Here are a couple of examples--
When given the choice between bring right or being kind, choose kind.
-- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.
-- Blaise Pascal
You've hit a homerun, Ms. Palacio. I will let you know how The Wonder Project goes.
Bon appétit and a healthy dose of kindness for all!