Choose Kind: Author R.J. Palacio Discusses Wonder



hi my name is RJ Palacio and I am the author of Wonder Auggie pullman august pullman is a ten-year-old boy who for all intents and purposes is an ordinary kid just like every other ten-year-old kid out there except for the fact that he was born with this rather extraordinary face he was born with a very severe cranial facial difference or deformity is what other people use but but now having been part of this community they prefer the term difference and he has been homeschooled his entire life because his differences have made it necessary for him to have many medical procedures and then in the fifth grade though when it's Cypress great his parents decide that it's time for him to get out there and so the book follows his journey from pretty much the first day of school in fifth grade and ending pretty much in the last day of school to 5th grade and the reason I was inspired to write it really came out of a very very brief encounter I had with a little girl who was who looks just looked just like Auggie in front of an ice cream store and I was with my two kids and it was the way they responded to her especially my younger son who started to cry because he was afraid and the way I responded which was not really knowing what to do you know you kind of don't know whether you're supposed to acknowledge the situation whether you know what what you should do and I kind of panicked and and instead of really what I should have done is just talk to the little girl and set an example and use it as a teaching moment for my children show them there was nothing to be afraid of instead I kind of I kind of tried to leave the scene as quickly as possible which which ultimately wasn't didn't make me feel good and I imagined it make them feel good so that got me thinking about what it must be like to to have to face the world every day that doesn't know how to face you back it was an extraordinary day because I obsessed about it a lot and i obsessed more than anything about the way the mom responded as we were leaving and again by now my son my three-year-old is crying it was it was more of a commotion than I would have liked but I heard the little girl's mom say and as common sweet voice as you can possibly imagine okay guys I think it's time to go and I realize you know she'd gone through this a million it was really it was very eye-opening it was very heartbreaking yeah you would never forget that it was a moment it was a moment I started writing a book that night yeah you know in a way writing I realized is so much it you know part of it is invention of course an imagination all that but so much of it is extrapolation of what we all experience and even though I am NOT the mother of a child with a cranial-facial difference and I haven't experienced that directly I still know what it's like to be the mother of a sixth grader who's heartbroken about friends betraying them I still know what it's like to sit up you know all night because your son has a high fever you know and and these are experiences that are universal and every parent has gone through and so tapping into that but then extrapolating what it must be like to be the mother of a boy who has to face this world and be the sweetest kitty it's and he's sweet and he's funny and he's great people don't give him a chance because of his face and what that must be like so it was kind of not that to those characters and those that that feeling I think all the way you know there's a think there's a Tolstoy quote this is going to scratch a Russian and you get a peasant wherever something like that I'm paraphrasing it but I kind of feel I don't know maybe you do to that in book publishing you kind of scratch the surface and a lot of the people in marketing and editorial and whatever in this there's a writer lurking underneath there I mean I think we're all in this because we love books and maybe not everybody but I know a lot of people that entertain right early notions and I was definitely one of them I definitely wanted to be a writer someday I just chose to make a career in in graphic design and book publishing doing book covers because I thought it was something I could do for a living and so in the back of my mind I'd always I mean frankly I had been writing all along just nothing ever came to fruition because I never really was motivated to finish any of the things I started but this is the first time that I thought you know this is a month I think I'm onto something I like this story and I'm going to finish it no matter what you know in this case it was I had started the book and these characters kind of just it's a very strange thing they came they became very real to me very quickly and very well-rounded and and in a way what happens when you create this world that no one else is privy to at in the universe at this moment but you you feel this responsibility to finish their story and that had never happened to me so I imagine that all those other books were worth not publishing and not seeing the light of day but this one I just felt this compulsion to finish their story because I was their voice and and I would write you know the only time I got to write was between midnight and 3:00 in the morning every night I did that for about a year and a half and when I tell people that they're like oh my god how you know weren't you tired and I was but it was also such such a pleasure kind of revisiting that world every night it was like the secret little world and it was actually kind of extraordinary I've been in publishing for 25 years so I've been part of thousands thousands of books being launched and you know in good books and we know that the life cycle of most great books you know except for that one percent that makes it you know you expect maybe a month at the most out in the bookstores spine out maybe paperback a year later and and that's it that's kind of what I expected and I'm not just saying that it's it's what I'd always witnessed with rare exception and again the subject matter is a difficult one people don't necessarily think they want to read a book about something no they I know because people have told me my own editor admitted she you know it took a while to read the weapons you know it's the subject matter and it seems like it'll be sad so I kind of thought you know if if it gets published if you get published well then maybe it'll get some nice reviews and it'll have a life in paperback someday but what's happened is far exceeded anything even I could dream up and I can so big it's beyond anything it's it's a funny thing because I'm still doing so much work for wonder and going to school events because that is you just start feeling this responsibility to these kids who are so passionately in love with your book and your characters and they're signing pledges to choose kind and they're you know like you just tell me about your son Owen you know they're they're they're like evangelists for the book I call them Wonder Vangelis because they're there they're just they want it to be spread and it's I feel this responsibility to these kids who are so awesome and who are choosing kind and I go to their schools and I try to partake in as much as possible with them skyping and all of that I think it is happening already and I have nothing to do with it which is really the most amazing thing the wristbands the badges the pledges the murals those have all been happening in schools all across the country and I have nothing to do with it I find out about a few of them because people tweet pictures or you know they send me emails but that's what's been so extraordinary I had two girls show up at an event they had made t-shirts for themselves it said choose kind you know they it's you know someone had said oh you know they were merchandising opportunities here you know I think someone had said to my agent and I thought I know I think if someone wants to print a t-shirt that says choose kind or wonder or anything go for it you know spread the word on your own above and beyond selling the book you know and in a way that that is a lot of what I've been doing when I promote the book I am also you know I go into these schools and I talk to them about this whole notion of choosing cottage you know and and having I mean I it's again it's amazing when you're talking to a 10 or 11 or 12 year old and you tell them you know you you have the power to not just make someone's day but to change someone's life with a kind word with you know kind thought or gesture and consequently you also have the power to really be remembered for being a jerk I mean you have the choice which do you want Oh this is for RJ Palacio riding

27 thoughts on “Choose Kind: Author R.J. Palacio Discusses Wonder

  1. I have kind jar if u fill it too the top we get wonder murch from .r.j palicio 1 like is some murch for u

  2. I litteraly read the book 34 times, and I can easily say it changed the way I look at the world, thank you so much to RJ Palacio for this

  3. I loved this book and its language because its so simple. Can you guys recommend me other books with the same language level? thank you so much!

  4. I have the book and like it me to wene i grow up i will mack a book

  5. I have seen the movie this month but l have not read the novel :"Wonder "

  6. I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE BOOK!
    On Part Five (Justin) Why aren't the letters capitalized when a sentence starts?

  7. Thank ๐Ÿ™ you so much for publishing the book it is ๐Ÿ˜‰ amazing, btw for those of you who don't know there's a second ๐Ÿ“š book!

  8. I saw the movie I read the book and I cried so much. Every time I hear life's adventures I cry. I love you R.J Palacio I wish I could meet her but I cant, thank you for being part of the community. You are my biggest inspiration.

  9. Reading th book now and want to see the movie BUT is there REALLY an Auggie Pulman??? Is this based on a true story thatโ€™s whatโ€™s confusing

  10. I love wonder my teacher is reading it its the best Julian is so mean in the book how dare him say to augie be darthsidious for Halloween

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