By R.J. Palacio


Welcome to the enchanting world of “Wonder” πŸ“šβœ¨, a heartwarming and inspiring novel by R.J. Palacio that has touched the hearts of millions worldwide. Released in 2012, this book quickly soared in popularity, becoming a beloved read across various age groups.

R.J. Palacio, a graphic designer turned author, was inspired to write “Wonder” after a real-life incident. The story revolves around a young boy named August Pullman, who, due to facial differences, embarks on the challenging journey of attending a mainstream school for the first time. Set against the backdrop of his fifth-grade year, the novel unfolds through multiple perspectives, offering a comprehensive look into the dynamics of kindness, friendship, and acceptance.

“Wonder” falls under the genre of children’s literature but stands out for its universal appeal. It’s a testament to the idea that everyone deserves kindness and acceptance, regardless of their appearance. Through its engaging narrative and relatable characters, “Wonder” encourages readers to choose kindness above all.

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into the world of “Wonder,” exploring its plot, characters, themes, and much more, in a journey that promises to be as enlightening as it is enjoyable! πŸŒŸπŸ“–

Plot Summary

“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio is a captivating story that follows August “Auggie” Pullman, a boy born with facial differences, as he navigates his first year at Beecher Prep middle school. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the main events:

Exposition β€” August Pullman is about to start fifth grade, marking his first time attending a mainstream school. Having been homeschooled due to his many surgeries and medical conditions, Auggie is apprehensive about how his classmates will react to his appearance.

Rising Action β€” As Auggie begins school, he faces a mix of reactions from his peers. Some are overtly cruel, while others are kind but hesitant. Auggie makes a few friends, including Jack Will and Summer, who see past his appearance. However, he also encounters bullying, particularly from Julian, which tests his resilience and self-esteem.

Climax β€” The climax occurs during the school’s nature retreat, where Auggie and Jack are attacked by older students from another school. Their classmates come to their defense, marking a turning point in how they are seen by their peers. This event catalyzes a change in the school’s dynamics, with more students starting to show Auggie kindness and acceptance.

Falling Action β€” Following the retreat, Auggie’s relationship with his classmates improves significantly. He starts to feel more accepted and part of the community. The school year continues with the newfound camaraderie, and Auggie feels happier and more confident.

Resolution β€” The story concludes at the end of the school year with Auggie receiving the Henry Ward Beecher Medal for being a notable example of kindness and courage. The award signifies not only his personal growth and resilience but also the impact he has had on those around him, encouraging them to act with more empathy and understanding.

Through its ups and downs, “Wonder” beautifully illustrates the journey of a boy who just wants to be treated like any other kid, and in doing so, teaches a powerful lesson about empathy, kindness, and acceptance.

Character Analysis

In “Wonder,” R.J. Palacio presents a cast of characters that are richly developed, each contributing to the themes of acceptance, empathy, and resilience. Here’s an in-depth look at the main characters:

  • August “Auggie” Pullman β€” Auggie is the protagonist, a ten-year-old boy born with Treacher Collins syndrome, leading to facial deformities. Despite his challenges, Auggie is bright, kind, and possesses a great sense of humor. Throughout the story, he demonstrates incredible strength and resilience in facing the cruelty and kindness of those around him. His journey is one of personal growth, as he learns to navigate a world that often judges him by his appearance.
  • Via Pullman β€” Via is Auggie’s older sister, who loves him deeply but also struggles with being in her brother’s shadow. She faces her own challenges, particularly in her transition to high school where she seeks her identity outside being Auggie’s sister. Via’s character development includes learning to balance her love for her brother with her own needs and desires.
  • Isabel and Nate Pullman β€” Isabel and Nate are Auggie and Via’s parents. They are supportive, loving, and protective of their children, especially Auggie. They face their own fears and anxieties about Auggie’s integration into a mainstream school but remain hopeful and encouraging.
  • Jack Will β€” Jack is one of Auggie’s first friends at Beecher Prep. His friendship with Auggie faces ups and downs, especially when a moment of weakness leads Jack to make hurtful comments about Auggie. However, Jack’s remorse and efforts to mend their friendship show his growth and the value of forgiveness and loyalty.
  • Summer Dawson β€” Summer is another true friend to Auggie, demonstrating kindness and acceptance from the start. Her friendship with Auggie is uncomplicated and genuine, highlighting her compassionate nature and the impact of simple acts of kindness.
  • Julian Albans β€” Julian is Auggie’s main antagonist at school. He represents the initial prejudices and fears people can have toward those who look different. Julian’s journey, though less focused on in the main narrative, hints at the possibility of change and redemption.

Character Analysis Summary:

CharacterPersonality TraitsMotivationsDevelopment
August “Auggie” PullmanResilient, humorous, kindDesires acceptance and to be treated like any other kidGrows in confidence and impacts others’ perspectives on kindness and acceptance
Via PullmanProtective, searching for identityStruggles with her own identity apart from being Auggie’s sisterLearns to balance her love for her family with her own needs
Isabel and Nate PullmanLoving, protective, hopefulWant to protect Auggie while giving him a normal lifeLearn to trust in Auggie’s strength and the kindness of others
Jack WillLoyal, flawed, caringSeeks forgiveness and to be a good friendLearns the value of true friendship and loyalty
Summer DawsonKind, accepting, straightforwardWants to befriend Auggie for who he isServes as a constant support and friend to Auggie
Julian AlbansPrejudiced, insecure, capable of changeActs out of fear and misunderstandingSuggests the potential for personal growth and understanding

Through these characters, “Wonder” explores themes of acceptance, resilience, and the impact of our actions on others, offering readers a mirror to their behavior and a window into the lives of those who might seem different at first glance.

Themes and Symbols

“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio is rich with themes and symbols that deepen the reader’s understanding of the story and its messages. Let’s explore the major ones:

  • Kindness β€” Kindness is the backbone of “Wonder.” The narrative encourages readers to practice kindness in all interactions, illustrated through Auggie’s experiences and the Choose Kind movement inspired by the book. Kindness acts as a catalyst for change, transforming both the giver and receiver, and promoting a more inclusive and empathetic community.
  • Acceptance β€” The theme of acceptance runs deep in “Wonder,” highlighting the importance of accepting others for who they are, regardless of their appearance or background. Auggie’s journey is a testament to the power of acceptance in fostering belonging and self-esteem.
  • Courage β€” Courage is exemplified through Auggie’s resilience and determination to face his peers every day, despite the challenges and fear of being judged. It’s also seen in the actions of characters who stand up for what is right, even when it’s difficult.
  • Friendship β€” The friendships in “Wonder” illustrate how true friendship transcends superficial differences. The bonds formed between Auggie, Jack, Summer, and others demonstrate the value of loyalty, support, and understanding.
  • Family β€” The Pullman family is a central element of the story, representing unconditional love and support. Their dynamic highlights the importance of family in providing a foundation of strength and acceptance.


  • Auggie’s Helmet β€” Auggie’s astronaut helmet symbolizes his desire to hide from the world and be seen as someone else. Its eventual abandonment represents his growing confidence and acceptance of his identity.
  • Precepts β€” Mr. Browne’s precepts, or principles for life, symbolize the moral compass that guides the characters. They serve as reminders of how to act with kindness, courage, and integrity.
  • Standing Ovation β€” The standing ovation Auggie receives at the graduation ceremony symbolizes his acceptance and recognition by his peers. It marks a significant shift in how they see him, not for his appearance, but for his courage and kindness.

Through these themes and symbols, “Wonder” conveys a powerful message about the importance of empathy, acceptance, and the impact of our actions on the lives of others. The story encourages readers to look beyond the surface and recognize the beauty in everyone’s uniqueness.

Style and Tone

“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio is notable for its distinctive writing style and tone, which play crucial roles in conveying the story’s themes and emotions. Let’s delve into these aspects:

  • Multiple Perspectives β€” Palacio employs a multi-perspective narrative technique, allowing the reader to see the story through the eyes of Auggie, his sister Via, and several of his classmates. This approach adds depth to the narrative, fostering empathy and understanding among readers by showcasing different viewpoints and internal struggles.
  • Accessible Language β€” The language used in “Wonder” is straightforward and accessible, making it suitable for a wide range of readers. This simplicity in language enhances the emotional impact of the story, allowing the themes of kindness, acceptance, and resilience to resonate deeply with readers.
  • Emotional Tone β€” “Wonder” strikes a balance between heartwarming and heart-wrenching moments, maintaining an emotional tone that engages readers. The challenges Auggie faces are portrayed with honesty and sensitivity, eliciting empathy and reflection from the reader.
  • Humor β€” Despite its serious themes, “Wonder” is punctuated with moments of humor, mainly through Auggie’s witty observations and interactions with family and friends. This humor provides relief from the more intense moments of the narrative, highlighting the protagonist’s resilience and positive outlook.
  • Inspirational Messages β€” Throughout the book, Palacio weaves in inspirational messages and quotes, often through Mr. Browne’s precepts. These messages encourage readers to reflect on their actions and attitudes, emphasizing the book’s central message of choosing kindness.

Key Contributions to Mood and Atmosphere:

  • The multi-perspective narrative creates a rich, empathetic atmosphere, allowing readers to understand and sympathize with different characters’ experiences and growth.
  • Accessible language ensures the story’s themes are clear and impactful, enabling readers of all ages to grasp the significance of the story’s messages.
  • The emotional tone ensures that readers are deeply invested in the characters’ journeys, experiencing their highs and lows.
  • Humor adds a light-heartedness to the story, making it more relatable and enjoyable for readers, while also showcasing the protagonist’s strength and positive spirit.
  • The inspirational messages contribute to an uplifting atmosphere, inspiring readers to consider how they can make a positive impact in their interactions with others.

Through its writing style and tone, “Wonder” effectively captures the complexities of growing up different, the power of kindness, and the importance of seeing beyond one’s appearance. The book’s approachable narrative and emotional depth make it a meaningful read for both young readers and adults.

Literary Devices used in Wonder

R.J. Palacio’s “Wonder” is enriched with various literary devices that enhance the narrative and deepen the reader’s engagement. Here are the top 10 devices used in the book:

  1. Symbolism β€” Palacio uses symbols, such as Auggie’s astronaut helmet, to represent deeper themes like isolation and the desire to fit in. The helmet shields Auggie from the world’s stares and judgments, symbolizing his initial reluctance to face society’s scrutiny.
  2. Point of View β€” The novel employs multiple first-person perspectives, allowing the reader to understand the thoughts and feelings of different characters. This technique fosters empathy and showcases the impact of actions and words from various angles.
  3. Metaphor β€” Palacio frequently uses metaphors to convey complex emotions and situations. For example, Auggie’s journey through middle school is likened to being a lamb in a lion’s den, illustrating his vulnerability in a potentially hostile environment.
  4. Simile β€” The use of similes, such as comparing Auggie’s hearing aids to “tiny little microphones,” helps readers visualize aspects of Auggie’s condition and the ways in which he navigates the world.
  5. Irony β€” There are instances of situational irony, where the outcome of events is opposite to what one would expect. For example, Auggie’s initial fear of school becomes contrasted with his eventual acceptance and popularity among his peers.
  6. Foreshadowing β€” Palacio subtly hints at future events, such as the dynamics between characters or pivotal moments in the story. This device keeps readers engaged and anticipatory of how these hints will unfold.
  7. Flashback β€” Through flashbacks, the author provides background information about Auggie’s medical history and previous experiences, enriching the reader’s understanding of his challenges and resilience.
  8. Allusion β€” References to pop culture and literary works, such as “Star Wars,” not only make the story relatable but also serve to highlight themes of heroism and battling against odds.
  9. Imagery β€” Vivid imagery is used to paint a picture of Auggie’s experiences and the world around him. Descriptions of his surgeries, the reactions of others, and the environment at school all contribute to a richer narrative.
  10. Juxtaposition β€” Palacio juxtaposes the innocence and cruelty of childhood, the normalcy of Auggie’s family life with the challenges they face, and the perspectives of Auggie versus his peers. This contrast enhances the themes of acceptance and empathy.

These literary devices not only embellish the story but also underscore its themes, making “Wonder” a compelling and thought-provoking read.

Literary Devices Examples

Let’s delve into examples and explanations for each of the top 10 literary devices used in “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio.


  • Auggie’s Astronaut Helmet: Symbolizes his desire to hide from the world and feel protected. It’s a physical manifestation of his wish to be seen as just another kid, without his facial differences defining him.

Point of View

  • Multiple First-Person Narratives: Each section told from a different character’s perspective (Auggie, Via, Jack, etc.) allows readers to see the story through various eyes, fostering empathy and understanding for each character’s experiences and actions.


  • Auggie as a “Lamb in a Lion’s Den”: This metaphor illustrates Auggie’s vulnerability as he enters a mainstream school for the first time, facing potential bullying and isolation due to his appearance.


  • Comparing Auggie’s Hearing Aids to “Tiny Little Microphones”: Helps readers visualize Auggie’s hearing aids, emphasizing their conspicuousness and how they make him feel different.


  • Auggie’s Fears vs. His Success: The irony in Auggie’s story lies in his initial fear of going to school because of his appearance and how he eventually becomes celebrated and accepted by his peers, contrary to what he and the readers might expect.


  • Hints at Auggie’s Acceptance: Early in the novel, small acts of kindness from certain characters foreshadow the broader acceptance Auggie will eventually experience, suggesting that change is possible within the school community.


  • Auggie’s Surgical History: Through flashbacks, readers learn about Auggie’s numerous surgeries. These insights help readers understand the physical and emotional challenges he has faced from a very young age.


  • References to “Star Wars”: Auggie’s love for “Star Wars” and his connection to characters like Darth Vader serve as allusions that enrich his character and highlight themes of bravery and the battle against adversity.


  • Description of Auggie’s First Day at School: The vivid imagery used to describe Auggie’s anxiety, the reactions of his peers, and the atmosphere of the school immerses readers in his experience, making his world more tangible and relatable.


  • Innocence vs. Cruelty of Childhood: Palacio juxtaposes the kindness and cruelty that children can exhibit, highlighting how acts of empathy and meanness shape Auggie’s school experience, and emphasizing the book’s themes of acceptance and the power of kindness.

These examples illustrate how R.J. Palacio skillfully uses literary devices to deepen the narrative of “Wonder,” making it not only a story about a boy with a facial difference but a universal tale about empathy, courage, and the importance of looking beyond appearances.

Wonder – FAQs

What is the main message of “Wonder”?
The main message of “Wonder” is to choose kindness. R.J. Palacio emphasizes the importance of empathy, acceptance, and understanding, teaching readers to look beyond physical appearances and to treat others with compassion and respect.

Who is August “Auggie” Pullman?
August “Auggie” Pullman is the protagonist of “Wonder.” He is a young boy born with facial differences caused by Treacher Collins syndrome. The story follows his journey of attending a mainstream school for the first time and the challenges and triumphs he faces.

How does “Wonder” address bullying?
“Wonder” addresses bullying by showcasing the various forms it can take and its impact on individuals. Through Auggie’s experiences and those of his peers, the book demonstrates the importance of standing up against bullying, fostering empathy, and the power of friendship and support in overcoming adversity.

What role do Auggie’s family play in the story?
Auggie’s family plays a crucial role in providing him with love, support, and encouragement. They are his safe haven and a source of strength, helping him navigate the challenges of school and society. Their perspectives also offer insights into the complexities of caring for someone with visible differences.

Can you explain the significance of the book’s title, “Wonder”?
The title “Wonder” has multiple meanings. It refers to the sense of awe and curiosity about the world that Auggie inspires in others, despite initial judgments based on his appearance. It also reflects the reader’s journey of discovering the wonder of empathy, kindness, and the beauty of diversity.

What lessons can students learn from “Wonder”?
Students can learn numerous lessons from “Wonder,” including the importance of kindness, the value of seeing beyond someone’s appearance, the impact of our actions on others, and the courage it takes to be true to oneself. The book encourages readers to be more empathetic and to embrace diversity.

How does “Wonder” encourage readers to act towards others?
“Wonder” encourages readers to act with kindness and consideration towards others, reminding them that everyone has their own struggles and that compassion can make a significant difference in someone’s life. It inspires readers to be allies and friends to those who might feel isolated or different.

These FAQs provide a glimpse into the profound themes and questions explored in “Wonder,” making it a valuable read for individuals of all ages.


Here’s a multiple-choice quiz to test your comprehension of “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. For each question, choose the best answer.

What condition was Auggie born with?Treacher Collins syndromeDown syndromeCerebral palsyAutism
Who is Auggie’s first friend at Beecher Prep?CharlotteJack WillJulianSummer
Which character shows jealousy towards Auggie because of the attention he receives?ViaJulianJack WillCharlotte
What does Auggie dress up as for Halloween?An astronautDarth VaderA ghostBoba Fett
Who gives Auggie the Henry Ward Beecher medal at the end of the school year?Mr. TushmanMr. BrowneMrs. GarciaHis mother
What is the name of Auggie’s older sister?OliviaEmilyCharlotteIsabella
Which literary device is prominently used to tell the story from different perspectives?MetaphorSimileIronyPoint of View
What theme does the book primarily explore?AdventureKindness and acceptanceMysteryScience fiction

Feel free to answer these questions to test your knowledge of the book!


In this exercise, you’re tasked with identifying the literary devices used in a given paragraph from “Wonder.” Read the paragraph carefully, then list the literary devices you find.

“August is the Sun. Me and Mom and Dad are planets orbiting the Sun. The rest of our family, the kids at school, everyone orbits too. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just how it is.”


  1. Metaphor – The comparison of August to the Sun and his family and others as planets orbiting around him is a metaphor. It suggests that August is the central figure in his universe, influencing everything around him without directly stating it.
  2. Personification – While not as explicit, attributing the action of orbiting to people gives them a characteristic usually reserved for celestial bodies, adding depth to the metaphor.
  3. Simile – Although the comparison is made directly as a metaphor, the underlying mechanism works like a simile, comparing two unlike things (August and the Sun, his family, and planets) to illustrate the nature of their relationships.

Identify these literary devices as you read through “Wonder,” and notice how they enhance the storytelling and themes of the book.