Sep 26, 2018
your Library Ladies
One Book, One Burg: Louisburg Reads 2018

The 2018 selection for One Book, One Burg: Louisburg Reads is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The book focuses on compassion, encouraging readers everywhere to Choose Kind. Thorughout the month of October you will have multiple opportunities to #choosekindlouisburg in our community and on social media. We hope you will take advantage of it and to engage with the people around you to create our own Choose Kind movement.

Please remember one of our most popular events of the program is the Intergenerational Book Discussion where members of the adult community have the chance to talk with Louisburg High School students about the book. Free up your lunch hour on Thursday, October 26 from 11:30am-1pm and join us in the LHS library for lunch (paid for by the library) discussion.

In case you haven't picked up your complimentary copy of Palacio's Wonder at the library yet, here's what you can expect: born with several genetic abnormalities, 10-year-old August Pullman, called Auggie, dreams of being “ordinary.” Inside, he knows he’s like every other kid, but even after 27 surgeries, the central character of “Wonder” bears facial disfigurations so pronounced that people who see him for the first time do “that look-away thing” — if they manage to hide their shock and horror.“

Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse,” he says of his face as the book begins. He’s used to the stares and mean comments, but he’s still terrified to learn that his parents have gotten him into middle school at Beecher Prep and want him to go there rather than be home-schooled. But they persuade him to give it a try — and by the time this rich and memorable first novel by R. J. Palacio is over, it’s not just Auggie but everyone around him who has changed.

Stories about unusual children who long to fit in can be particularly wrenching. At their core lurks a kind of loneliness that stirs primal fears of abandonment and isolation. But Palacio gives Auggie a counterweight to his problems: He has the kind of warm and loving family many “normal” children lack. Among their ­— and the book’s — many strengths, the Pullmans share the, um, earthy sense of humor that all kids love. Over the years his parents, Nate and Isabel, have turned the disturbing story of Auggie’s birth into high comedy involving a flatulent nurse who fainted at the sight of him, and they persuade him to go to Beecher by riffing hilariously on the name of the school’s director, Mr. Tushman. It also helps that the Pullmans’ world — they live in a town house in “the hippie-stroller capital of upper Upper Manhattan” — is the privileged, educated upper-middle class, that hotbed of parents who hover and micromanage the lives of their perfectly fine children. It’s somehow weirdly satisfying to see what happens when something actually alarming enters this zone of needless anxiety. Palacio carves a wise and refreshing path, suggesting that while even a kid like August has to be set free to experience the struggles of life, the right type of closeness between parents and children is a transformative force for good.