Wonder

Paperback | January 10, 2017

byR. J. Palacio

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The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that has captivated over 1 million readers and inspired a movement to choose kind.

I won''t describe what I look like. Whatever you''re thinking, it''s probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

"Wonder is the best kids'' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

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From the Publisher

The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that has captivated over 1 million readers and inspired a movement to choose kind.I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse. August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to b...

R. J. PALACIO lives in NYC with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For more than twenty years, she was an art director and graphic designer, designing book jackets for other people while waiting for the perfect time in her life to start writing her own novel. But one day several years ago, a chance encounter with an extraordinary child in front of an ice cream store made R. J. realize that the perfect time to write...

other books by R. J. Palacio

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories
Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories

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Wonder/365 Days Of Wonder Boxed Set
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365 Days Of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book Of Precepts
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see all books by R. J. Palacio
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.75 × 6.35 × 0.68 inPublished:January 10, 2017Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375873066

ISBN - 13:9780375873065

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved This Book! Forgot to mention in my previous review that I couldn't believe at the end of the book I read that this is R.J. Palacio's 1st book!!???!! Wow!!! Great writing!!! Great story!!!
Date published: 2016-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book!! This should be mandatory reading for everyone!
Date published: 2016-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from U have to read this Super good book also an inspiring story. To never Judge a book by its cover and also, think before u speak.
Date published: 2016-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book! Last year my teacher read our class this book, and everyone, including me, found it so inspiring! A young boy with a facial difference went through tough times while being bullied throughout his first year of school, ever! He is a fifth grade boy who made friends to help him along the way! If you get your hands on this book, I promise you will LOVE IT!
Date published: 2016-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life is a WONDER!! I read this in January, and I cannot believe I did not say this earlier, it was amazing! I loved every single chapter every single second I was reading this book I was happy! Raquel J. Palacio is a brilliant woman. I loved how the story was about friendship, loyalty, and my favourite...DRAMA! In this heart breaking, ground shaking, mind blowing book, you learn how we are all different. . August or Auggie is not just some ordinary kid. He has somethings wrong with his face. Now this brave boy, must power through middle school with facial problems, bullies and betrayal, kind of. But that is going to be hard as he has never been in a real school. He was always home schooled! Read this awesome book as Auggie and his best friend Jack go through middle school. My motto is that; Normal is boring. You cannot blend in when your born to stand out.
Date published: 2016-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from i loved it I read it at school and its the best book. Great for every age!!!!
Date published: 2015-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love it! Great anti-bullying messages!
Date published: 2015-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! I was reading this book and I really enjoyed it. Its an amazing book that I am sure you will love. I highly recommend this book to anyone!
Date published: 2015-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder This book was a really good book. I liked how it had different things that Agust did all year good or bad.
Date published: 2015-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LoveLoveLove This is such a fabulous book. I have purchased it and loaned it out so many times I have forgotten who has it. I am purchasing it again for my son in grade 4. His older brother read it in grade 5 and still talks about it. Great story, full of compassion for both boys and girls between 9-12.
Date published: 2015-09-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Agust is different Sep 2015 09 09 today in class we are reading wonder. Its such a great book for Kids to Teens . It talk about a boy who is different from others his name is Agust he gets bullied and ect.... He has an older sister she is over protective she is scared tat somene will hurt HIM . Read the BOOK to find out what happens.
Date published: 2015-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must-Read! This is hands-down the best book I have ever read. You will be a better person after reading "Wonder" due to the honesty in Auggie's words as he so openly shares his highs and (many) lows with the world. The idea of being kind to one another is the major theme in this book, as well as the phrase "do not judge a book by it's cover". It is a story of sorrow, perseverance, friendship, redemption, and love. Can it get any better than that? This is a book that everyone should read at some point in their life.
Date published: 2015-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 20 stars This book is a great book warm and touhkng it made me realize what it means to b kind the narrators are all good at showing there vieiw it deserves 20 stars to me
Date published: 2015-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow I could not put this book down even for a second.
Date published: 2015-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder Wonder is a amazing story about a boy who has troubles fitting in at his new school.It tells of how his differences make him become a hero.5 stars.
Date published: 2015-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST BOOK EVER!=AWESOME!! This is such a good book to read! Bullying! I know like 10 people who love this book!! ∆ :) :) :) :) ;) ;) ;);) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) ;) :)
Date published: 2015-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is now my favourite Kids book ever! I read this book with my two sons (ages 10 and 11). We all loved this book. It is enlightening, heart felt and funny. It is a must read!! Sure to be a classic.
Date published: 2015-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I really liked it it was a really good book.
Date published: 2015-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AWESOME BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! One of the best books ever read this book teaches you the meaning of frendship and well not to judge a book by its cover or in this case a little boy. this book is heart warming and will make you think a little differntly about a what a true friend looks like. This book makes stop & think about what we take for granted and it makes you want to do something different.
Date published: 2015-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best bookeverw This book is an awesome story about this little boy i rate this book 5 stars because of all the detail it has
Date published: 2015-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder I think that Wonder is an amazing story of a boy in a hard situation. He looks different then other people. I think this is a story that show what its like to be bullied or having a hard time making friends. What I found so great about this book was the way that it showed the hardships that family members have when one of their loved ones is in a hard spot.
Date published: 2015-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder This was a great book! I loved how there were all the different prespectives. I hope there are more books like this
Date published: 2015-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder I couldnt stop reading! The book really makes you think in different ways.The author made a intresting twist by having different caracters in the story tell their side.The julian chaper is amazing!
Date published: 2015-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WONDER THIS BOOK IS SO LOVLY AND BEAUTFUL STory with it....,I'm raeding this in my class.I love this book BECAUSE I RAED IT AT HOME SO I WOULD WHAT WILL HAPPEND NEXT.
Date published: 2015-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book My 9 year old son could not put this book down. He finished it in a few days. It's exciting as a parent when a book captivates your child like that.
Date published: 2015-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WONDER It as a very good book I only got the free privew so i don't know much i love it you should get it. Ii is just amazing some parts were mouth watering so really just get it you will love it.
Date published: 2015-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recomended I loved this book and it is amazing how a boy with something wrong had a good school year and experienced a new life. Usually I get nervous at the start of something new but if I had a problem like him I would be scared but August was reallllly brave!!!!
Date published: 2015-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "Wonder"ful! My daughter read the book and loved it. She really enjoyed the different perspectives of people. She loved it so much she asked me to read it and I did. I thought it was great. The perspectives showed the mix of emotions facing young people and the "other side" to the story. By the end we both had shed a few tears.
Date published: 2014-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring A really good book about a boy named August who has a disformed face.Includes different charecter perspectives such as augest's sister and his friends.
Date published: 2014-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder This was a great book and I really enjoyed it. I recommend this book to people who like the different perspectives of the characters. :-)
Date published: 2014-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a great book Wonder is one of my favourite books. Now, I'm liking it even more with the new Julian chapter in it! I really like how there's different points of view in this book. I wish there was a sequel to this book. I would reccomend it to kids, pre teens, young adults and adults. If I could, I would give this book 50 stars.:-)
Date published: 2014-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This was one of the best children's books I've read in a while. I used it as a novel study in my class and the kids couldn't put it down. They got mad at me for putting limits on how far I'd let them read. Worth picking up and reading, no matter how old you are.
Date published: 2014-12-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So great! If you’ve never been on the side of teasing and bullying in school, then this book would definitely show you what it feels like to be on that side. August has a disfigurement that has caused his face to look lopsided that no amount of surgery can fix. Yet on the inside, he is just your average ten year old boy obsessed with Star Wars and playing video games. Here’s a story where people matter, and where the boy wonder is as intelligent as any adult. I can’t help but smile at the tenacity and strength that August has. No matter what brought him down, he was right back up again. At times he felt like a punching bag, where kids would bring him down just for the fun of it. Yet August didn’t let it get to him. He knows he may look different, but just because he does, doesn’t mean he is. His whole personality is reflected in the eyes of the rest of the characters in the latter half of the novel which I enjoyed immensely. Considering there are a couple of characters, it didn’t feel confusing, it just felt real. You felt what they felt, especially in August’s point of view. Look for a fun and light hearted read, RJ Palacio writes the truth, be kind to people, no matter what they say about you.
Date published: 2014-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing i thought this book was great for young kids to young adults. there is a lesson that is to not judge someone by how they look or who you think they are. you can judge someone until you know who they really are or how the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover.
Date published: 2014-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder It was awsom and funny I love Wonder
Date published: 2014-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder This book was so heart inspiring because like so what he had a face problem ? I felt so sad like I was about to cry ( even though it was just a book ) just imagining that was real. Good thing he bad and it all figured out in the end# SeriouslyJulian? Well I hope there is a book of the whole gang not just Julian in the book the Julian Chapter.
Date published: 2014-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder-ful I bought this a while ago and it was amazing even wonder-ful. Get it????!!!!! Haha! I loved how it was told from different perspectives. It was great and I loved the characters. I can't wait for more novels by R.J Palacio.
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder-ful I bought this a while ago and it was amazing even wonder-ful. Get it????!!!!! Haha! I loved how it was told from different perspectives. It was great and I loved the characters. I can't wait for more novels by R.J Palacio.
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder-ful I bought this a while ago and it was amazing even wonder-ful. Get it????!!!!! Haha! I loved how it was told from different perspectives. It was great and I loved the characters. I can't wait for more novels by R.J Palacio.
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder Man this was a wonder filled book I
Date published: 2014-07-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring This book is about a boy who is deformed. His name is August. He did home schooling ever since he started school. It was the beginning of a new year, August was going to start the fifth grade. He realized that his parents sent an application to a very good school and he got accepted to the school. At first he does not want to go, but he promised his parents he would try and if he did not like it he could stop any time. When he arrive to the school everyone looks at him and he feels very uncomfortable. Soon a boy name Julian starts being rude to August. Soon Julian gangs up everyone to be rude to August too. August tries to prove to everyone he is not a zombie and tries to make them realize that he is a normal kid with a extraordinary face. The third special part is when he get award at the end of the year. He was sitting down watching student getting their awards, then all of a sudden he hears his name. He walks to the front of the stage and he gets his award. He said this was one of the best feelings in his life. Some characters of the book are August, Julian, Jake , Summer, Daisy, August mom and dad and many other characters.This book is good for anyone it has a really good message and has great humor. On the first day of school it was hard , he made friends with a boy name Jake and Summer , then On Halloween he heard Jake saying bad thing about him behind his back. With his enemy Julian. Julian has been mean to August the day he started school. August ignores Jake and becomes a closer friend with Summer. August is different from everyone at his school. He will show everyone he is an ordinary kid and not very different from each other. I hope you will want to read this book and see how good it is. These are the reasons why you should reads this book. I am 100% sure that you would enjoy this book. If you like the book please share with others so they can enjoy as well.
Date published: 2014-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder Just finished "Wonder". What a great book!
Date published: 2014-05-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! I had the opportunity to borrow this book from my school's library. This book was recommended to me by my Grade 11 English teacher. I was immediately hooked within the first few pages! The plot was good, and the characters were well developed. This book is an easy read and is great for anyone!
Date published: 2014-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A treasure This book was so sweet and lovely and inspirational. I can't say enough good things. August is such a wonderful child and his family is a joy. I loved the message in this book, and the manner in which the story was told through multiple points of view/narration. I know this book was intended for a teen audience, but I would recommend it for all ages. It has a nice anti-bullying undercurrent and a great message: Be kinder ... not just kind ... but kinder. A treasure.
Date published: 2014-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book should be required reading for preteens everywhere. A wonderful story, about a wonderful boy that brings to the forefront difficult issues. Great bedtime reading for those kids 10+ who still like to read with their family....I was moved to tears several times!
Date published: 2013-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "Wonder"ful I saw this book on store shelves and then up at my school library, I picked it up and I didn't know what the book was about. The other day I finished it and let me tell you, the characters were so real! Everything was beyond real almost like I was really seeing this. Julian was a believable character, Jack-Will was a believable character and especially August who was a great character. TheBookReviewer
Date published: 2013-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Moving, engrossing and profound. If there was one book I wish I had with me when I was in grade 5, this book would be it. Usually, I am not a big fan of coming-of-age stories. I always figured I read a book to get away from real life, why would I read about all of life's ups and downs just to throw me back down to reality? I was forced for read Alice, I Think back in grade 9 and I still get shivers down my spine when I think about it. I could never connect with Alice and that was the book's ultimate downfall. August Pullman, however, was so relatable. Surely most of us don't have it as bad as August but we've all had our own insecurities. Every glance a person directs your way can seem like an x-ray, seeing deep within to where your insecurities are hiding. We've all had days where we want to stay in bed forever and ever so we never had to face the world ever again. R. J. Palacio was able to put words to emotions we've all felt into words simple enough for middle graders. And it wasn't just August's story that resonated with me. From Via and Miranda's struggles to fit into high school to Jack and Summer's friendship with August, I have all felt those emotions and magically, their stories all built on to August's. And often times, I felt blindsided by some of these kids' stories because rarely do you get to see the perspectives of supporting characters. By only seeing one perspective, you can often jump to conclusion and develop a dislike for a certain character or two Jack and Miranda. But then, hearing from their side changes everything. I love it when multiple perspectives intertwine so well together; it's rare for it to be done so well, let alone in the simplistic, easy-to-read manner of Wonder. Special shoutouts to Auggie's parents, Isabel and Nate, for being the absolute best parents (other than my own, of course). They are like the parents every child wish they had. Not only were they caring, funny and strong, they knew their kids so well. They knew when to let things go, when to bring things up and when their kids needed love. Although their perspectives were never told, you know there were lots going on in their heads; telling their stories would require an entirely separate book. And lastly, I want to talk about Auggie. He is brave, smart, funny and definitely a wonder. Out of everyone's coming of age story, I loved his the most. Not only is it because he had to put up with much more, but because him alone was able to change other people for the better. When I look back, I realized everyone who has grown throughout the book came into contact with August in some shape or form. It really brings it home that all you need is to get to know a person, no matter what your initial judgement is. You might be surprised at how much this person changes you. R. J. Palacio also has a lot of cool supplementary info on her website like FAQs and some interesting notes. I absolutely adored this book and I would recommend it to everyone. Yes, I'm pointing at you, Reader, to give this book a chance. You might be surprised at how much this book changes you. Food for thoughts (and I also loved all of the quotes in between different perspectives): MR. BROWNE’S PRECEPTS SEPTEMBER When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind. —Dr. Wayne W. Dyer OCTOBER Your deeds are your monuments. —inscription on an Egyptian tomb NOVEMBER Have no friends not equal to yourself. —Confucius DECEMBER Audentes fortuna iuvat. (Fortune favors the bold.) —Virgil JANUARY No man is an island, entire of itself. —John Donne FEBRUARY It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. —James Thurber MARCH Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much. —Blaise Pascal APRIL What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful. —Sappho MAY Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can. —John Wesley’s Rule JUNE Just follow the day and reach for the sun! —The Polyphonic Spree, “Light and Day” and most of all: AUGUST PULLMAN’S PRECEPT Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world. —Auggie
Date published: 2013-05-24
Rated out of 5 by from wonder is a really good book i'm reading it in class. its about a 10 year old boy August Pullman, who has a case of Mandibulofacial (when two bad jeans get mixed together and create an abnormal face. is starting his first year of going to school after being home schooled. his adventures start in middle school with his friends and a couple of mean people. his sister Olivia (via) is going thru some emotional times after her first day in high school! you will hear from many charters points of views starting from August.
Date published: 2013-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonder is wonderful R. J. Palacio’s debut novel Wonder is wonderful. It tells the story of ten-year-old August (Auggie) Pullman who was born with “a previously unknown type of mandibulofacial dysostosis caused by a autosomal recessive mutation in the TCOF1 gene,” or, in other words, he’s not “normal” looking. Auggie has already had twenty-seven surgeries in an effort to correct some of the problems, but he has come to terms with the way he looks. He doesn’t like it, but he accepts it. August lives with his parents and 14-year-old sister Olivia (Via) in North River Heights, which is located at the very top of Manhattan. His parents have decided to take the very brave step of enrolling August in school for the first time. Until now his mom has been home schooling him. They are all hyper-aware of August’s stare-inducing face, but his mom and dad also understand that they can’t protect him forever. Wonder follows August through fifth grade, not only from his point of view, but from the perspective of some of his classmates and his sister, too. One of his new friends, Summer, says: "I sat with him that first day because I felt sorry for him. That’s all. Here he was, this strange-looking kid in a brand-new school. No one was talking to him. Everyone was staring at him. All the girls at my table were whispering about him. He wasn’t the only new kid at Beecher Prep, but he was the only one everyone was talking about. Julian had nicknamed him the Zombie Kid, and that’s what everyone was calling him." August’s favourite day of the whole year is, you guessed it, Hallowe’en. He says it’s “the best holiday in the world. It even beats Christmas. I get to dress up in a costume. I get to wear a mask. I get to go around like every other kid with a mask and no one thinks I look weird. Nobody takes a second look. Nobody notices me.” If that doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will. Olivia is also spreading her wings and her fierce love for her brother is tinged, realistically, with some adolescent id. For example, she doesn’t want her parents to attend a school play because they’ll bring August and she doesn’t want her new high school friends to see him. Despite understanding the extreme nature of Auggie’s problem – she would never call it deformity, but there you have it – she is starting to want some of her mother’s very August – focused attention for herself. Still, she is a good sister. August is smart and funny and well-supported by parents who love him and understand that they cannot shield him from life’s cruelty forever. He is beginning to make his way in a world that may not always show him kindness and yet he is so buoyed by the love of his family and the support of friends, one can only imagine that he will be just fine. If the ending is perhaps just the teensiest bit instructional, the proffered lesson is one I can get behind. We must be kind to each other. Cynical readers might also argue that Wonder‘s ending is a bit saccharine. I disagree. Instead, I agree with Auggie’s mother when she tells him: “You really are a wonder.” And so is this book. A must read.
Date published: 2013-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow Firstly, I can not believe this is a debut. Wow. just wow. What a powerful, unforgettable story. There is not too much to say other than this is a book for everyone. Within the pages we meet the the beautiful soul of Auggie as he experiences and adjusts to his first year going to a regular school. Told through various perspectives, as readers we learn so much about humanity, cruelty and kindness through the eyes of this young boy. If you share one book with your children, your class or family–let it be this one. For more reviews check out - www.lostinthelibrary.com
Date published: 2012-09-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Take the good with the bad. This promising story failed to deliver what I felt it could have, dealing, as it was, with a hard-hitting and edgy subject. August, a severely deformed student (in a society that so worships beauty) enters school for the first time, and faces some of the reactions one might expect under these circumstances. The problems I had with the story were: - The story is told by August, his sister Via, his friend Jack, and Via's boyfriend Justin, yet the characters' voices were all very similar. - The characters were largely one-dimensional and this detracted from the emotional impact that more realistic portrayals could have achieved. - August's parents were practically saints. - The dialogue often did not ring true. - Some happenings were too bizarre to be believable. For example, the school principal sends an email to parents of a child who has been assaulted, and in this message he launches into character praise of the responsible child. - The ending tied everything up far too neatly. The biggest problem I had with the story structure was the way conflicts were almost glossed over. There was far too little shown of what August (and even Jack) went through during periods of adversity and shunning. This was a significant missed opportunity. In my opinion, a story that is meant to offer an honest depiction of life as a deformed child owes more to the reader than pat resolutions on all fronts, with the lone remaining bad guy neatly removed, and everyone else living happily ever after. Despite all of that, I did enjoy much about "Wonder" and was entertained enough to read through to the end. Younger readers will undoubtedly find far less to fault in this story, and may well benefit from seeing the world through the experiences of someone like August. If it can help make young readers into kinder, more thoughtful people, then all of this book's shortcomings are easily forgivable.
Date published: 2012-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful This is an absolutely wonderful book - every child and adult should read it!! Told from a child's viewpoint, it teaches (in a powerful, loving way) not to judge a book by its cover.
Date published: 2012-06-08
Rated out of 5 by from Every teen and child and parent should read
Date published: 2012-04-06

Extra Content

Read from the Book

OrdinaryI know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary. I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.If I found a magic lamp and I could have one wish, I would wish that I had a normal face that no one ever noticed at all. I would wish that I could walk down the street without people seeing me and then doing that look-away thing. Here’s what I think: the only reason I’m not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.But I’m kind of used to how I look by now. I know how to pretend I don’t see the faces people make. We’ve all gotten pretty good at that sort of thing: me, Mom and Dad, Via. Actually, I take that back: Via’s not so good at it. She can get really annoyed when people do something rude. Like, for instance, one time in the playground some older kids made some noises. I don’t even know what the noises were exactly because I didn’t hear them myself, but Via heard and she just started yelling at the kids. That’s the way she is. I’m not that way.Via doesn’t see me as ordinary. She says she does, but if I were ordinary, she wouldn’t feel like she needs to protect me as much. And Mom and Dad don’t see me as ordinary, either. They see me as extraordinary. I think the only person in the world who realizes how ordinary I am is me.My name is August, by the way. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.Why I Didn’t Go to SchoolNext week I start fifth grade. Since I’ve never been to a real school before, I am pretty much totally and completely petrified. People think I haven’t gone to school because of the way I look, but it’s not that. It’s because of all the surgeries I’ve had. Twenty-seven since I was born. The bigger ones happened before I was even four years old, so I don’t remember those. But I’ve had two or three surgeries every year since then (some big, some small), and because I’m little for my age, and I have some other medical mysteries that doctors never really figured out, I used to get sick a lot. That’s why my parents decided it was better if I didn’t go to school. I’m much stronger now, though. The last surgery I had was eight months ago, and I probably won’t have to have any more for another couple of years.Mom homeschools me. She used to be a children’s-book illustrator. She draws really great fairies and mermaids. Her boy stuff isn’t so hot, though. She once tried to draw me a Darth Vader, but it ended up looking like some weird mushroom-shaped robot. I haven’t seen her draw anything in a long time. I think she’s too busy taking care of me and Via.I can’t say I always wanted to go to school because that wouldn’t be exactly true. What I wanted was to go to school, but only if I could be like every other kid going to school. Have lots of friends and hang out after school and stuff like that.I have a few really good friends now. Christopher is my best friend, followed by Zachary and Alex. We’ve known each other since we were babies. And since they’ve always known me the way I am, they’re used to me. When we were little, we used to have playdates all the time, but then Christopher moved to Bridgeport in Connecticut. That’s more than an hour away from where I live in North River Heights, which is at the top tip of Manhattan. And Zachary and Alex started going to school. It’s funny: even though Christopher’s the one who moved far away, I still see him more than I see Zachary and Alex. They have all these new friends now. If we bump into each other on the street, they’re still nice to me, though. They always say hello.I have other friends, too, but not as good as Christopher and Zack and Alex were. For instance, Zack and Alex always invited me to their birthday parties when we were little, but Joel and Eamonn and Gabe never did. Emma invited me once, but I haven’t seen her in a long time. And, of course, I always go to Christopher’s birthday. Maybe I’m making too big a deal about birthday parties.How I Came to LifeI like when Mom tells this story because it makes me laugh so much. It’s not funny in the way a joke is funny, but when Mom tells it, Via and I just start cracking up.So when I was in my mom’s stomach, no one had any idea I would come out looking the way I look. Mom had had Via four years before, and that had been such a “walk in the park” (Mom’s expression) that there was no reason to run any special tests. About two months before I was born, the doctors realized there was something wrong with my face, but they didn’t think it was going to be bad. They told Mom and Dad I had a cleft palate and some other stuff going on. They called it “small anomalies.”There were two nurses in the delivery room the night I was born. One was very nice and sweet. The other one, Mom said, did not seem at all nice or sweet. She had very big arms and (here comes the funny part), she kept farting. Like, she’d bring Mom some ice chips, and then fart. She’d check Mom’s blood pressure, and fart. Mom says it was unbelievable because the nurse never even said excuse me! Meanwhile, Mom’s regular doctor wasn’t on duty that night, so Mom got stuck with this cranky kid doctor she and Dad nicknamed Doogie after some old TV show or something (they didn’t actually call him that to his face). But Mom says that even though everyone in the room was kind of grumpy, Dad kept making her laugh all night long.When I came out of Mom’s stomach, she said the whole room got very quiet. Mom didn’t even get a chance to look at me because the nice nurse immediately rushed me out of the room. Dad was in such a hurry to follow her that he dropped the video camera, which broke into a million pieces. And then Mom got very upset and tried to get out of bed to see where they were going, but the farting nurse put her very big arms on Mom to keep her down in the bed. They were practically fighting, because Mom was hysterical and the farting nurse was yelling at her to stay calm, and then they both started screaming for the doctor. But guess what? He had fainted! Right on the floor! So when the farting nurse saw that he had fainted, she started pushing him with her foot to get him to wake up, yelling at him the whole time: “What kind of doctor are you? What kind of doctor are you? Get up! Get up!” And then all of a sudden she let out the biggest, loudest, smelliest fart in the history of farts. Mom thinks it was actually the fart that finally woke the doctor up. Anyway, when Mom tells this story, she acts out all the parts--including the farting noises--and it is so, so, so, so funny!Mom says the farting nurse turned out to be a very nice woman. She stayed with Mom the whole time. Didn’t leave her side even after Dad came back and the doctors told them how sick I was. Mom remembers exactly what the nurse whispered in her ear when the doctor told her I probably wouldn’t live through the night: “Everyone born of God overcometh the world.” And the next day, after I had lived through the night, it was that nurse who held Mom’s hand when they brought her to meet me for the first time.Mom says by then they had told her all about me. She had been preparing herself for the seeing of me. But she says that when she looked down into my tiny mushed-up face for the first time, all she could see was how pretty my eyes were.Mom is beautiful, by the way. And Dad is handsome. Via is pretty. In case you were wondering.