What Can Happen When We Feel Strange, Stupid, Different

While I am working on promoting my Middle Grade novel Chronicles From Château Moines, I re-read Wonder, which is in my opinion one of the best Middle Grade novels of the last two years.

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Wonder by R.J Palacio is the kind of book that has the power to turn any reader into a better person. I guarantee you.

The main character August Pullman, nicknamed Auggie, was born with a very rare genetic defect that affects his face. Although his parents have regular faces, they both carry a mutant gene that gave Auggie a bad number in the genetic lottery. Even after countless surgeries, ten-year-old Auggie has a face that turns heads and makes people gasp.

Few of us experience with such dramatic life challenges. However most of us have been, at least once, in a situation where we’ve felt out of place. The feeling is unsettling, and we’re relieved to return to our familiar.

In Chronicles From Château Moines Scott is the new kid in town. He’s American, wears different clothes, and speaks French with an accent, putting him under an involuntary spotlight.

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Sylvie, the French local girl, reacts to his arrival in the seventh grade class:

“Despite his smile, he looks confused, and I wonder how it feels to be the new kid in a school and to be a foreigner.”

This is how Scott, the freshly arrived American boy, feels:

“My brain feels like a big bag stuffed with names, words, and sentences, all in French. Thanks to Mom, I knew enough French to fool the kids, yet they watched me as if I were an alien that Neil Armstrong brought back from the moon. My clothes and roller skates gave me away before I opened my mouth.”

I always feel bad for anyone who is in a place where he or she feels strange, stupid, and just different.

Throughout Wonder, we follow Auggie as he goes through a quiet yet extraordinary transformation. By the end of the school year, the kids from his fifth grade class and his family will also have changed.

It is not unusual for the new kid, disliked or just misunderstood, to bring change.

In Chronicles From Château Moines this is Scott who decides to organize a peace walk to oppose the Vietnam War, ultimately changing the dynamics at school and in the small town of Château Moines.

Obstacles or challenges, even less dramatic than Auggie’s, can make us terribly anxious but can also trigger bold moves, leading to real change.

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Now your turn.

What’s your favorite Middle Grade novel based on the topic of change?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt different from the people around you?

Do you think that challenging situations can bring good things?

 

P.S. Just a friendly reminder that my novel is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and can also be ordered from your favorite independent bookstore.

Comments

  1. Well done Evelyne. Wishing you huge sales with this new book. Hugs!

  2. May your success exceed all you expectations! Congratulations on your new book!

  3. I love that you’ve written and introduced us to books about strange situations ending well. The one I remember the best, the one I tried to write about, ended well enough for me but not for all involved. The world needs stories like yours.

    • Honestly, there are many good books in the USA for our children and teens. Wonder is exceptional. And it’s true that I tend to favor stories where people experience challenges and grow from them. Thank you again for your visit and kind words. See you soon.

  4. Beverly Broughton says:

    I just ordered your book and know that it will be a transforming experience for the readers.
    Miss you!
    Bev

  5. I liked your novel very much. It offered a refreshingly normal story amidst postapocalyptic / vampire invasion. Wonder is another inspiring story, which my boys read as part of a summer reading assignment. When I was a kid, Judy Blume was my favorite. I particularly loved Are You There God It’s Me Margaret because like the main character, I was anxious for the start of puberty, and yet, unprepared and unsettled when changes finally began occurring. Every kid feels different at some point, some more than others. While the experience(s) can be painful, in the end, they strengthen our character and make us more empathetic.

    Fondly,
    E

    • Judy Blume, in my opinion, changed the type of books published for girls. Are You There God It’s Me Margaret is also one of my favorites. So honest and thought-provoking. Wonder is an exceptional story based on an exceptional character.I agree on how challenges strengthen us despite the pain. Of course, I’m glad to read that you like my novel, too. It’s always encouraging for a writer to meet someone who likes her story. See you soon, Elizabeth.

  6. je ne sais pas si il y’a une traduction de wonder mais il a l’air vraiment très sympathique et me plairait (encore bravo pour ton livre) 🙂

  7. Wonder est un super livre. Je viens de regarder et il est traduit et le titre est toujours Wonder. Merci pour mon livre! A plus tard.

  8. I enjoyed Wonder. There’s another book with an interesting protagonist called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which is really good. I think it’s more YA, though.

  9. I’ve felt out of place many times in my life Evelyne – I’ve also been the new girl at a different school – though still in the same country, so not such a great culture shock. I think it’s made me more empathetic to the discomfort of others and I always feel a need to reassure people who seem to be feeling like that.

    • After I read your post about your father’s box and what you learned from him I understand that you’ve felt out of place many times. I agree that we must have felt that way to experience compassion for others. See you soon, Andrea.

  10. This is amazing, wish you success and great sales. The cover of the book i SO pretty by the way ❤

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