RJ Palacio penned a novel titled Wonder which was published in 2012. The story was inspired by something she witnessed while standing in line with her three-year-old son waiting to buy ice cream one afternoon. Her son noticed a girl with facial defects and in fear that he may say something or react in a negative way, she tried to remove him from the area, but actually made it worse.
From there, and thanks in part to Natalie Merchant’s song, of the same name, a story was born and it’s one that challenges us all to be a little (or a lot) kinder.
The story follows a 10-year-old, Auggie, on his journey through school for the very first time. Due to mandibulofacial dysostosis, commonly referred to as Treacher Collins syndrome and a cleft palate, he’s been kept at home while undergoing and recovering multiple surgeries. His parents decide that it’s time to send Auggie to private school, after homeschooling him for those years, so he can begin middle school with other children his age.
As Auggie navigates his new school and all that comes along with it, there are points of conflict and also of great joy. He makes a few close friends but also has one terrible bully who has his own friends that also bully Auggie. They make fun of him for his looks in a way that’s bred completely out of hate.
As the school year progresses, Auggie experiences things that leave him feeling betrayed, but he also builds strength within himself and thanks to the people who love him. If you’ve not yet read the film, we don’t want to give too much of the story away. If the film stays close to the book, which we’re sure it will, you’ll see Auggie find confidence, love, and appreciation through the story – all things he may never have felt were his before.
Today, a trailer for the film Wonder was released and it stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, and Daveed Diggs. Seeing a novel we loved so much come to life is incredible, and we couldn’t have imagined a better cast.
If you’re looking for a film to inspire you to see more beauty in the world, starting with yourself, this is the one to watch.
‘Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.’
‘…but I knew him’