WONDER — The Spark of Truth

I’ve been working on a memoir of my sister and me covering the first five years of her life. Struggling with author voice and the art of stringing events together in a cohesive fashion, fellow Scriblerian TJ Akers suggested I read Wonder.

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Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, is a novel, but it reads like a memoir. In both my story and Palacio’s, the subject matter focuses on growing up in a family where one of the siblings has special needs. My sister overcame several physical handicaps. In Wonder, Auggie must tolerate people’s reactions to his facial disfigurements, and he must have the fortitude to become vulnerable to others if they are to ever know the soul behind the face.

 

 
Published in 2012, Wonder has already been noted as a modern classic, and I can see why. Classic literature takes readers beyond a good story, rich in emotion. It takes us deeper into the meaning of life. Secular or Christian, it doesn’t matter. Humans are made in God’s image, and all of us have been created with kindling in our hearts that bursts into flame at a touch from the spark of truth.

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Palacio’s writing style in displaying Auggie’s courage and honesty is such a spark. She has accomplished what I’m aiming for. I want my sister’s perseverance and spritely spirit to set hearts on fire.

 

 
Many of the books I review here at The Scriblerians fall into the “classics” category. Which children’s books have you read that sparked fire in your heart?

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Love You Forever

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I have three sons, all over thirty. Back in 1986, when the youngest was three, a new children’s classic was published. I knew it would be a classic because I never got tired of reading it, and my boys never got tired of hearing it. The book was called Love you Forever by Robert Munsch.

Let’s assume you’ve read the book (and read the book and read the book and…). What is it about this story that draws so many people of all ages? Over eighteen million copies have sold in twenty-seven years. Grandparents love it. Parents love it. Kids love it. Why?

I think it has to do with grateful hearts. God is never mentioned in the text, but His love is the theme that runs through it. As the little boy grows up, becomes a man, and continues family tradition, his gratitude for the love received from family is demonstrated in the tenderness he shows to his own child.

We intentionally pass on what we appreciate.

Human beings of every creed long for unconditional love. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we were created in God’s image with His capacity to love. When we receive love, we feel happy and secure. When we give love and fulfill the needs of someone else, we gain joy and satisfaction and contentment.

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It is this giving and receiving of love that strikes a chord in every person who reads Love You Forever. A Hindu mother is just as touched by the story as a Baptist grandpa. It was a bedtime favorite in our household. I must have hundreds of readings under my belt, and I cry every time, overwhelmed by God’s goodness and the oceans of love I have for family.

I have two granddaughters, both under age five. Love You Forever is fast becoming a favorite. They don’t have the language experience to express why they like the story, but snuggling next to me, they know what they feel as their Nona reads it. They are loved. Unconditionally. They are learning to love unconditionally, to pass it forward. And some day when they are all grown up, I hope their children will get to listen to that old classic, Love You Forever.