August “Auggie” Pullman was homeschooled for all of elementary school. And, although it was technically due to his being born with major facial deformities, it wasn’t because his parents worried about him being teased. It was actually because his many doctors appointments and surgeries would have caused him to be absent so often that it wasn’t worth enrolling him. Even though his mother wasn’t a certified teacher, she did so well with homeschooling that he was not only at grade level but excelled in most subjects. When it came time for Auggie to start middle school [in 5th grade], his mother felt that he would benefit from attending school with his peers and convinced Auggie [and his dad] that he should give it a shot. Knowing how cruel 10- and 11-year-old kids can be, I cringed to think what could happen… and was sad to listen as it sometimes played out as expected. Luckily, this story was about much more than the negativity Auggie dealt with; it was about his zest for life and how contagious it could be to those around him!
Side note: I sometimes get frustrated and/or confused when a story is told by more than two narrators, so I can understand if that aspect of this story has you worried. Let me reassure you that Palacio’s writing [and the multiple audiobook narrators!] gave each of the characters a unique enough voice that it worked. In fact, I think it was very helpful to be able to experience this story from multiple perspectives — including Auggie, his teen sister, her boyfriend, and one of his friends from school. While there were certainly points in the story where I found things to be depressing, there was plenty of hope and joy to balance it out.
P.S. When I was looking for an image of the book cover, I came across an awesome story about a girl named Michelle who is similar to Auggie in both her medical issues and her amazing attitude — http://www.teachmentortexts.com/2012/04/wonder-reminds-us-that-kindness-makes.html#axzz2QZBly0ou … Check it out!