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posted: 2/1/2013 1:13 PM

Naperville READS author R. J. Palacio visits with "Wonder"

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By Susan Greenwood
Naperville Public Library

It's "Wonder" week in Naperville.

R.J. Palacio, the Naperville READS children's author, will be in town to talk about her hit book "Wonder."

The book is the story of August "Auggie" Pullman, a boy born with severe facial deformities. The book begins when Auggie starts fifth grade in a public school after being home schooled. But the story is more than his struggles to be accepted; it includes the uncertainties of his parents about how to cope with strangers reacting to Auggie's face, as well as the toll this places on his older sister.

Labeled a young adult book," Wonder" is really a story for the entire family to read and discuss.

Readers have an opportunity to talk with Palacio and get their questions answered at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, in North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville.

The Naperville READS presentation is free, but tickets are suggested and available at Anderson's Bookshop and all three Naperville Public Library locations: Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson Ave.; the Naper Boulevard Library, 2035 S. Naper Blvd.; and the 95th Street Library, 3015 Cedar Glade.

While "Wonder" is classified as fiction, it is based on a real incident. The author was at an ice cream shop with her two sons when they saw a little girl with a severe facial deformity. Both young boys were frightened. In a hurry, author Palacio said she pulled the boys away, but for a long time she worried about her reaction.

What was she teaching her sons? What did the little girl and her mom feel? All these questions and dozens more led to the writing of "Wonder."

Reactions to "Wonder" helped create the Choose Kind campaign that was inspired by her book. It's based on the simple thought that "Just one act of kindness can make a difference."

People across the country are signing the Choose Kind pledge and reporting about how the campaign has inspired them. People who attend the presentation Tuesday will have an opportunity to learn more about the Choose Kind campaign.

For information about Naperville READS, visit napervillereads.org or on Facebook. There is also a special Choose Kind website at choosekind.tumblr.com.

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