Wonder - Summary

R.J. Palacio

Wonder Book Cover


“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio is a heartwarming and thought-provoking novel that tells the inspiring story of August Pullman, a ten-year-old boy with a facial deformity. The book explores themes of acceptance, empathy, and the power of kindness. Through its engaging narrative and relatable characters, “Wonder” encourages readers to embrace differences and challenge societal norms. This book summary will delve into the key aspects of the story, highlighting important examples and anecdotes that make it such a compelling read.

August Pullman: A Remarkable Protagonist

August Pullman, also known as Auggie, is the central character of “Wonder.” Born with a rare facial deformity called Treacher Collins syndrome, Auggie has faced numerous challenges throughout his young life. The novel begins when Auggie is about to enter the fifth grade, marking his first experience in a mainstream school. As readers follow Auggie’s journey, they witness his resilience, courage, and unwavering spirit.

The Power of Kindness

One of the most prominent themes in “Wonder” is the power of kindness. Auggie encounters both acts of kindness and acts of cruelty throughout the story, highlighting the impact that individuals can have on one another. One particularly memorable example is when Auggie’s classmate, Summer, befriends him despite initial hesitation from others. Summer’s kindness and genuine friendship help Auggie feel accepted and valued, demonstrating the transformative power of compassion.

The Importance of Empathy

Empathy is another key theme explored in “Wonder.” Through various perspectives, Palacio allows readers to understand the thoughts and feelings of different characters, including Auggie’s sister, Via, and his classmates. This multi-perspective approach fosters empathy in readers, encouraging them to see beyond appearances and understand the struggles and triumphs of others. For instance, when readers learn about Via’s experiences as Auggie’s sister, they gain a deeper understanding of the impact Auggie’s condition has on his family.

Overcoming Prejudice and Stereotypes

“Wonder” challenges societal prejudices and stereotypes by presenting characters who defy expectations. Via, Auggie’s older sister, battles feelings of neglect as her parents focus on Auggie’s needs. Despite this, Via remains a compassionate and supportive sister, breaking the stereotype of sibling rivalry. Additionally, the character of Mr. Tushman, the school principal, demonstrates the importance of fair judgment and unbiased decision-making, as he creates an inclusive environment for Auggie and his peers.

The Strength of Friendship

Friendship is a recurring theme in “Wonder,” and it is through friendship that Auggie finds solace and support. Auggie’s friendship with Summer and Jack Will plays a crucial role in his emotional growth and acceptance within the school community. The author skillfully depicts the ups and downs of these friendships, highlighting the complexities and challenges that come with building and maintaining meaningful connections.

The Impact of Bullying

Bullying is an unfortunate reality that many individuals, especially those who are different, face. “Wonder” sheds light on the devastating effects of bullying and the importance of standing up against it. Auggie endures bullying from some of his classmates, particularly Julian, who embodies the ignorance and cruelty that can arise from fear and prejudice. However, the novel also showcases the power of resilience and the ability to rise above adversity.

A Journey of Self-Discovery

As Auggie navigates the challenges of his new school, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery. He learns to embrace his uniqueness and finds the strength to be proud of who he is. Auggie’s journey inspires readers to reflect on their own identities and encourages them to celebrate their individuality.

Lessons in Acceptance

Acceptance is a central theme in “Wonder.” The novel emphasizes the importance of accepting oneself and others for who they are. Auggie’s classmates, initially hesitant and judgmental, gradually learn to accept him as a valuable member of their community. This acceptance extends beyond Auggie’s physical appearance, highlighting the significance of embracing differences in all aspects of life.

The Role of Family Support

“Wonder” underscores the crucial role of family support in overcoming challenges. Auggie’s parents and sister provide unwavering love and encouragement, serving as a source of strength for him. The novel portrays the unconditional love and support that families can offer, emphasizing the importance of a strong support system.

The Impact of “Wonder”

“Wonder” has had a profound impact on readers of all ages since its publication. Its powerful message of acceptance and kindness has sparked conversations about empathy and inclusion in schools and communities worldwide. The book’s success led to the creation of the Choose Kind movement, inspiring individuals to choose kindness in their daily lives.


In conclusion, “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio is a captivating and remarkable novel that explores themes of acceptance, empathy, and the power of kindness. Through the experiences of its protagonist, Auggie, readers are reminded of the importance of embracing differences and challenging societal norms. The book’s engaging narrative and relatable characters make it a compelling read for individuals of all ages. “Wonder” serves as a powerful reminder that a single act of kindness can have a lasting impact, and that we should always choose to be kind.

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