November 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM
SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - RJ Palacio, the author of Wonder, visited Park Middle School last Monday for a special meeting with fifth- and sixth-grade students who had just finished reading the book that has sold more than 1 million copies and has been optioned as a movie.
Kids had the opportunity to write a letter to Palacio about how the story impacted them, and a small group was selected to have lunch with the author.
“They literally cheered when the author came into the room,” said Susan Ruszala, one of the parent volunteers who coordinate the event. “The PTA and BOE combined funds to purchase the book for the classrooms as part of the school’s character education initiative. The book’s message to 'Choose Kind' is simple and powerful and is has started a movement to encourage kids to choose to be nice.”
Programs like this show how schools can create a positive atmosphere, rather than one that is governed by stories of bullying. “It was a very special event that was well done and it showed how all of us working together can make a difference,” concluded Ruszala.