Choose Kind

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and 2013 marks its eighth anniversary.  National Bullying Prevention Month was founded by the PACER Center, a parent training and information center for families of children and youth with disabilities from birth through age twenty-one.  This year’s theme is “The End of Bullying Begins with Me.”  For more information you can visit PACER’s National Bully Prevention Month website.

This is the perfect time to discuss a book that is creating a lot of buzz in the anti-bullying arena.  The book is called Wonder by R. J. Palacio and it is the story of ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities. Auggie goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student. The book was not originally written as an anti-bully book, but with its strong messages of tolerance, friendship and the power of kindness, many parents and educators are using it as a springboard to teach children about these values.

Although Wonder was published over a year and half ago in February of 2012, it has been sitting on the top of the New York Times Bestseller’s List for children’s middle-grade fiction for the past 40 weeks.  As of March 2013 more than 350,000 copies of Wonder were sold. The book received starred reviews in 4 major professional review journals as well over 1,700 five-star reviews from customers on Amazon.com.  Wonder also won the 2013 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for older readers. The Mercer County Library System has 12 copies, yet they are all checked out with a waiting list.  To place a hold on this title, visit our catalog or for the eBook visit eLibraryNJ.

Due to the overwhelming success of Palacio’s debut novel and the impact that it had and continues to have across the country, Random House Children’s Books, who published Wonder, launched a movement called “Choose Kind.”  Choose Kind is an anti-bullying campaign designed to encourage people of all ages to combat bullying by practicing everyday acts of kindness.  Visitors to the site can share their personal experiences and see how others have chosen to show kindness. There is also a “Pledge to Choose Kind” to which visitors can add their names.  There are links to learn more about the book Wonder and its author as well as additional links to anti-bullying resources such as PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The powerful message behind the “Choose Kind” movement is “just one small act of kindness can make a difference.”  Perhaps by choosing to be kind, we can put an end to bullying. How will you choose kindness in your life?

-Miss Andrea

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