Book Review: WONDER (La lección de August)

Wonder Spanish Translation coverAuthor: R.J. Palacio

Number of Pages: 414

Publisher: Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2012 

“August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?” 

Recently I’ve been wanting to read more novels translated into Spanish to improve my Spanish skills, and I’m so happy that I chose this translation to read. Not only was the story heartwarming and heart-wrenching, but it also opens the reader’s eyes to what it might be like to live with such a burden on your shoulders.

I love how this book is broken up into different sections with different narrators. It starts off being narrated by Auggie, and then it switches to the perspectives of his sister, friends, and classmates. Ague’s voice makes a reappearance once or twice later on, but quite a bit of the story is told from other perspectives. Not only does this make the novel more interesting to read, but it also brings the overarching meaning of the story to a deeper, much more real level. As a reader, you get to see firsthand accounts from various people regarding how Auggie’s life impacts them, and vice versa. A major component of this is Auggie’s facial deformity (if that’s the right word for it) but it also applies to his kind, thoughtful, and compassionate personality. We are all connected, and the way in which this story is formatted and written helps us to better understand this. 

The idea of the story itself is really unique, and I think that more books for children should be written about such topics. Auggie’s health issues are serious topics, yet this book nevertheless has a lighthearted, heartwarming feel to it. There are some sad, emotional moments, but they balance with the many funny and positive parts. This story effectively delivers meaningful, important life lessons without being preachy or overwhelming, which is why I think it’s perfect for kids. Both Auggie and the reader learn the value of self-acceptance, kindness, compassion, and optimism. I love entertaining stories that have deeper sides to them, and this one is no exception.

Here’s something I don’t say often enough, but I love it when I do: My favorite part of this book is the ending. Endings are challenging to get right a lot of the time, which is why it is so refreshing to read an ending that makes you smile and want to read the book again right away. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read this novel, so let’s just say that the story ends on a wonderfully positive note. It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

The only aspect of this book I would change is the age of the kids. Auggie and his classmates are in fifth grade when this story takes place, yet both the set-up of their classes and their personalities make it seem as though they are older. Personally, I would say that Auggie is more like a seventh-grader than a fifth-grader, but I think it’s really just a matter of perspective.

My reading experience of this novel had an extra wrinkle in it because I decided to challenge myself and read the Spanish translation. At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to really grasp and understand this story, but I didn’t feel like I had any problems at all. For the most part I read it without looking up words, and I was able to get the gist of what was going on. I’m sure I missed some things but all in all I think I understood the majority of it.

Overall, Wonder is a touching, worthwhile read for all ages. The story itself is wonderful, and the lessons it teaches are even better. No matter what language it’s written in, it’s sure to be a memorable read!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Definitely! I think that people of all ages would enjoy this story, especially if they have ever felt ostracized or bullied. It’s a refreshing story of heartfelt compassion and change, which we can always use more of!

Have you ever read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!



6 Replies to “Book Review: WONDER (La lección de August)”

  1. I’m soo glad you loved Wonder! This is definitely one of my favorite books this year! Like you, I felt like the kids were a bit older than 5th graders, at the same time some parts they acted exactly like 5th graders. I think the part where Jack said those hurtful things about Auggie was something a 7th grader wouldn’t necessarily do. I’d rather believe a younger person acting that way for the reasons Jack did than a 13 year old. I’m not completely sure, though. 🙂 I wish I’d be able to read in Spanish, as it is I’m struggling with creating sentences haha.
    Lovely review. 🙂


  2. Oh, I read this last year! It was very sweet, and I love seeing diversity in fiction, especially fiction for kids!

    I should challenge myself by reading books in Spanish too… I just finished studying four semesters of Spanish at the college level, and now I need to make sure not to lose that knowledge!


  3. Yes to this book! It’s SO heart-warming and positive and restores my faith in humanity. The author made a book about Mr Brown’s precedents – one for each year. Definitely want to get that.


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