Seems everybody knows about Wonder, the fabulous book about an amazing boy with deformities. The book I scouted is “A real life Wonder.” Entitled Ugly, it is the autobiography of Robert Hogue. Born with facial as well as some skeletal malformations, Robert’s family brings him home from the hospital and never looks back. His parents are supportive and concerned for him. They allow him to make risky choices, but are honest and deny permission when the costs to his safety are too high. His siblings treat him like just another brother. Robert makes a lasting friend when he begins elementary school. Things seem typical and, in fact, many facets of his life are similar to those of any boy growing up in Australia. Yet, many aspects of his life are anything but regular. Robert faces numerous perilous and painful surgeries. Each procedure comes with the possibility of infection, complications and difficult recovery. Students are often brutal, to Robert, calling names and ridiculing him for his appearance. Even the remarks of some teachers are callose, considering him less worthy than his classmates, and, at times, even less than human.
Robert, however, is amazing, like Auggie. Even if people, circumstances, even his own body pulls him down, Robert rises above. He is a jokester who chooses to make others laugh rather than be laughed at. He faces each surgery with courage. He accomplishes his dream of competing in sports by succeeding in lawn bowling. In regard to classmates, Robert realizes that, “Each one had something different about them. I just had different differences.” He not only embraces his differences, but credits them for making him who he is today. Teachers and parents, read aloud both Wonder and Ugly and you’ll have a unique opportunity to get students involved in meaningful discussion and writing: comparing written works of fiction and nonfiction on the same topic.
Written by Robert Hoge
Accelerated Reader Level 5.7
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