The Whitehall Public Library will launch a community read campaign around the inspirational New York Times Best-selling novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The campaign will begin in April, coinciding with National Library Week.
Wonder tells the story of a boy named August Pullman who is born with severe craniofacial disfigurement. As a baby and a child, Auggie undergoes twenty-seven different surgeries and is now finally able to begin public school for the first time, in fifth grade. Chapters are told from the perspective of different characters, illustrating how Auggie is treated because of the way he looks. Readers learn that Auggie just wants to be a normal kid and to be accepted for the person he is. It’s a beautiful story of compassion, friendship, tolerance and intentional kindness.
“I have wanted to do a community-wide reading initiative for some time and Wonder seemed the perfect choice,” says Library Director Paula Kelly. “I honestly think it’s the kind of book that if everyone read, the world would be a better place.” Amazon.com says, “Wonder is a rare gem of a novel–beautifully written and populated by characters who linger in your memory and heart.”
The library received a monetary gift from the Jack Buncher Foundation at the end of 2017, enabling the purchase of multiple copies of Wonder as well as We’re All Wonders, the picture book version for very young readers. Kelly says, “We are really excited to gift copies of this amazing book to our schools and other community partners and stakeholders. And of course we’ll have plenty of copies in the library to borrow. We want everyone in Whitehall to read Wonder.”
Whitehall Reads Wonder” also involves a slate of very special library programs sponsored by the Friends of the Library. These programs will be offered for all ages and will focus upon opportunities to “choose kind” a tagline from the book, through purposeful acts of service and thanks. We’ll be hosting opportunities to discuss the book and watch the move. We’ll even have an opportunity to hear from a speaker who has a craniofacial difference similar to Auggie’s. Nick Weise will lead a picture presentation about what life is like for someone whose appearance stands out from the rest. Finally, the library will wrap things up with a WONDERful spaghetti dinner and dance community celebration.