Slice of Life: Tears from ‘Wonder’

So, there I was, on my way from home in Western Massachusetts to Birmingham, Alabama, relishing the time I could finally spend reading Wonder by RJ Palacio. I had actually won it in a blog contest through my teacher network (thanks, Colby!), and passed it along first to my son, who gave it back up to me for this trip. (He wants it back). I started the book in Hartford, continued it via my layover in Baltimore, and finished it en route to Birmingham.

It brought me to tears, this book did. And I found myself wishing fervently for a more private place than an aisle seat on an airplane, surrounded by strangers as I was caught up in the emotional ending in which the power of “kindness” hit me like a punch to the gut. This wonderful book is about a boy entering fifth grade, about what it means to be different, and what it means to find your place in the world where good can bubble up in expected places. I won’t give the plot away. I won’t say more about why I was tearing up, choking back emotion. You’ll have to read Wonder to figure that out (and you should.)

What I will say is that, every now and then, a book crosses my hands that reminds me of why I read and why I keep on reading — and why I sometimes suffer mediocre books in hopes that a jewel will surface. Wonder is one of those books. I know there more of these jewels out there. I’ll just have to keep on reading to find them.

Peace (in the slice),


  1. I just love hearing everyone’s reactions to this book. Being “in the know” with new books is one of the things I’m treasuring about being #nerdybookclub. Twitter has given me such a valuable resource to liven up my reading life.

    And let me also say I’m thankful to hear from men like you, Colby, and John who are willing to get out there and admit how books capture your heart and stir your emotions. That is a HUGE thing in this world of machismo. Thank you 🙂

  2. This really sounds like a book worth reading! The review got my attention and had me reaching for my notebook to add the title to my must read list! And I have to agree with Maria, it’s nice to hear, from the male perspective, the honest emotion you felt when reading this book. That is a rare thing and I’m glad you shared it!

  3. Everyone who has written about this book seems to have an emotional connection to it. I wasn’t sure about buying it for my high school classroom, but I think I’m going to have to break down and get it…thanks for sharing.

    • This book would move anyone who read it. Seriously. I don’t think I can imagine anyone of any age who wouldn’t enjoy it. I wish I could get enough copies for every student in my high school to read it!

  4. I loved this book too – thank you for reminding me why. I could just picture you on the plane dealing with your emotions in front of strangers. A good book …. love how it can do that to ya.

  5. I felt like you did when I finished John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. But I wasn’t on a plane — just in the corner of my closet crying my heart out.

    I tackling Wonder is a have-to-do now…if only to be able to recommend it to some boys I know who might need a story like this one.

  6. Great post, great book, great to be part of a movement with folks who read and think and live and write and care. Nerd power to the nerdth degree!

  7. I love how your son wants the book back! I could totally picture you in the aisle seat enjoying this book. Can’t wait to read it! With all these recommendations it’s climbing to the top.

  8. I selected your slice today because of your words about a great book. Another book moved to the shopping cart. You said it so well in your last paragraph…” book crosses my hands that reminds me of why I read and why I keep on reading — and why I sometimes suffer mediocre books in hopes that a jewel will surface. ” …love that.

  9. Hey Kevin, I wrote yesterday’s slice about a book that leveled me. Nice to see you go through a similar feeling. It’s true — these are the books that keep me reading…

  10. I just finished reading Wonder (thanks to #nerdybookclub recs) and shared the emotion you felt when reading it. I loved your description. I was in awe throughout most of the book! I agree that people who haven’t read it should go get it right away.

  11. First, I love hearing about your sharing of books with your son & that he wants this one back is telling. I am in the middle of it now so thankful you showed your emotion and applause without giving any of the story away. And second, I wonder how the passengers would have reacted if you had shared your emotions because of this wonderful book. Maybe they don’t know that others do that? (Just a crazy thought about our culture that keeps things so private.) Thanks Kevin, I think I’d better read some more today! And thanks for coming by my blog!

  12. I loved, loved, loved WONDER. Read it on NetGalley and then had to run right out and buy it for my classroom. I’m reading it aloud now. Can’t wait to see how it changes my fourth graders as readers and as human beings.

  13. Kevin, you have sown a seed by sharing your recent reading experience. This is how good news about worthy books gets spread- reader to reader! May those pearls continue to reveal themsleves as you live your reading life.
    Many thanks for sharing

  14. Loved hearing about this book from your perspective–it is on my list of ‘must reads’ after hearing about it at the Dublin Lit Conference last week. Thanks for letting me know that it sounds like I need a box of Kleenex and a private place to read it.

    I have read your blog for quite awhile, but doing this whole SOLC has pushed me to finally comment on your thinking. Thanks for the growth you have provided to me as a teacher!

  15. Love Wonder. Thanks for sharing. I think that it’s important for our young male readers to see how we connect with books

  16. You said it all, “What I will say is that, every now and then, a book crosses my hands that reminds me of why I read and why I keep on reading.” Every now and then we come across that book that not only keeps us reading, but somehow makes us better. Wonder seems to be one of those books.


  17. I can’t wait to buy this. I can’t wait to see if my girls will like it. I have a fourth grader and seventh grader and high schooler. It’s so hard to keep ahead of them. Of course now they are starting to recommend to me, which is pretty wonderful!

  18. Pingback: Wonder, Thanks to Kevin: SOLSC 2012 #5 « blkdrama

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