On September 10, this past Wednesday, I had the pleasure to meet R.J. Palacio for the second time. However, this time she did a reading  and took questions, whereas last time she was just a panel member about bullying. As she stepped on the stage, she opened up about the origination of Wonder, her inspirations, and even why the title. As she spoke, she revealed that her inspiration came from a real life Auggie of sorts. A few years ago, while her eldest son was sent in to get ice cream for the family, Palacio and her three year old sat next to a little girl who, without Palacio noticing at first, who had facial deformities. Palacio immediately thought about how her son would react; she thought maybe to move somewhere else. As she predicted, her young son cried when he looked at the girl. Palacio then walked away. Embarrassed by her reaction and behavior, Palacio set out to right her wrong.  Another interesting fact we learned, the title, Wonder, comes from the song Wonder by Natalie Merchant that talks about being different. With lyrics such as And laughed as my body she lifted/”Know this child will be gifted/With love, with patience and with faith/She’ll make her way, make her way”

IMG_1104

R.J. Palacio as she is talking about the creation of wonder.

Picture this, thirty or so chairs filled with children and their parents, and me and my friend, plus one other adult on her own. The audience wasn’t that varied. Yet, we were all alike in how captivated we were once Palacio opened her new book, 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts we were all hooked. She read the section, “Your Actions are Noted”  about a bunch of mean girls who mock a girl during her stage debut while her mother tries to watch proud, holding back tears because of the bullies. It was a powerful chapter that demonstrated that what we do is constantly on display. We should be on our best behavior, respect our peers, and behave in a way we would like to be treated.

IMG_1106

R.J. Palacio reading from 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts

Palacio’s reading voice was captivating. Although I did not buy the book, at the time or now, I am seriously considering it after her reading. It’s not a traditional book with chapters or plot, but there are mini life lessons thrown in for each month. It does have me interested. Palacio said she had gotten the idea from the thousands of fans that had submitted their own precepts. As she had been a fan of collecting her own when she was younger, so came the idea for 365 Days.

After a somewhat long Q and A, with spoilers!, I was finally able to get my book signed. She was so nice. But, let me tell you, there was dra-ma! There was a woman who wanted a bunch of books signed, but not just signed with the author’s signature, no that was not good enough. With close to ten or more books, she dictated what Palacio should write in the books! The whole event, pre until the end, this woman was a pain. I think Palacio was relived not to have to write a long, personalized inscription once she got to me, as I was after the woman.

Overall, it was a great event. Although I still haven’t read Wonder, I definitely will now in the close future. It was great seeing her again. Hearing her read was fantastic. The event was a great success. I am so glad I went. I was up in the air with whether or not I wanted to go; I’m so glad I did.

Happy reading and thanks for stopping by!

Advertisements