Dear Mrs. Palacio,
I think of your book, Wonder, as a lantern in the inky, black darkness of night, showing me the truth that was masked just seconds ago. It revealed what life was like for so many people I had never even thought about before. I love your cover too. I had to add that because I read that you designed book covers, but you didn't make your own. Anyway, what I really want to tell you is how your book affected me so much. I used to always be confused on why people were the way they were - some having deformities, some being perfect, and some just plain ordinary, but I didn't ask anyone why. Your book was unique in a way that I could actually feel how someone similar to Auggie might feel, and how much courage and strength it takes to go through something like what you described.
I'm being brought up by my loving parents and my, slightly annoying, brother, so I have never really been exposed to what happens to people all over the world. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful that I don't have to face the things that many others do, but I didn't know that people could go through so many problems until recently. I was born and brought up in the US, but both of my parents are immigrants. They know about as much about American culture as I do. Due to this, I was kind of socially impaired when I was younger, so I was bullied many times. That's one way I related to Wonder. Auggie, or August, was bullied for his appearance, being labeled "Freak" and "Lizard face", but I was bullied for not knowing how to do the "socially" right thing. For example, I would say one word, a single harmless word like "Hello!," and it would be used against me because of how I said it. For this reason, and more, my second grade school year is still scarred in my brain.
Confidence. That was what made Auggie step out of the shadows. With the confidence and support of his family, friends, and most of all himself, he was able to make the best out of his fifth grade year. That's something I'm still kind of working on. Until recently, I felt like the fifth wheel of a car, non-existent, let alone important. Then, I understood what my mom always told me - Don't take everything to heart. I don't have to be the one who gets pushed around because someone else is having a bad day. Now, I'm pretty self-assured, and I am slowing gaining more confidence each day.
I am very, very lucky to have my family. Via was so sweet to Auggie and so protective of him. Well, my brother is a lot like that too. Whenever I don't have anyone to play with, he's always there. Even if he's with his own friends, he would sometimes let me come and join him. My mom and dad care a lot about me just like Auggie and Via's parents too. They want me to do well in school, and when I was bullied, they stepped right up and talked to the guidance counselor for me and helped me to get through it.
Another reason I can connect with your book so much is how Auggie is the new kid at school. He was going to a school after years of homeschooling. He wouldn't know anyone and would have to face the "popular group" and the more "normal" people. In the end he was able to finish the year strong with close friends who really cared about him. I was entering third grade when I moved to West Des Moines, IA, which is where I still live. I had just gotten over being bullied at my old school and was making new friends, even with the person who had bullied me. We had both understood each other and were starting to get along fine, but then, wham, I had to go to another city, another school district, and start all over. I felt out of place all over again at my new school. I went through another bullying experience because when there are new people around me, I just don't know what I'm supposed to do. Being teased for that is really sad, but finally, after some time, I made some friends. Most of us still hang out together.
On a side note, I wanted to add one little thing about Julian. I guess this was kind of the point of his character, but I hated Julian - with a passion. I almost cried when I read how mean he was. I especially hated the part when Julian talked about Darth Sidious. I can't even bring myself to finish writing about it. I felt that it was his nature to be so rude and mean to people. Auggie can't help looking different, and Julian doesn't have any right to judge that. Julian might have been better if his parents had better characters too. Since he is young he could have been easily influenced, so it might not have been completely his fault for being so mean. I think that everyone can just hope that people with meanness like Julian can change and grow up or just eventually gain compassion.
Anyway, I really think that Wonder was like a lantern in the darkness, opening a door to a whole new realm of life. I basically live an ordinary life with family, friends, and food (yes, I said food), but I have only heard about all of the other things out there. This book opened my eyes to the life of someone who has so many struggles, but still manages to make it through. It gave me confidence to be myself.