The story centres around Auggie, who has craniofacial abnormalities. Homeschooled till the age of ten, he now faces the challenges of meeting new people in middle school. Despite having a great personality, Auggie is shunned, bullied or stared at by other children. Yet, there are those who discover what a great friend he is as they are willing to look beyond his appearance and befriend him.
I feel that the book provides avenue for discussion with J, about how we can be kind to others, about how hurt the victim of bullying can feel and so on. Personally, I shed quite a few tears while reading the book.
The book also provides accounts of the same circumstances from other people's points of view. There are other books in the series - The Julian Chapter, Shingaling and Pluto. These are not sequels, but are also the points of view of other characters in the story. Julian appears to be a villain in the main book, but when he tells his story in The Julian Chapter, I can empathise with him too.
In short, this is a book not to be missed. Empathy and kindness can be taught through the story. I am looking forward to the movie which will be released next year. Julia Roberts plays Auggie's mum and I think she will do a good job.
The e-book can be borrowed from the NLB.