Each year, the public libraries of the Fox Cities and UW-Fox Valley come together with the goal of building a larger sense of community and to promote literacy through a program called Fox Cities Reads. We select an author and book title to promote, and we encourage the people in our communities to read the book and think, talk, listen, and grow together.
“Past Fox Cities Reads selections have taken readers places that they might otherwise never go,” states Joe Bongers, Fox Cities Reads co-chair. “Through the pages of these books we’ve ridden along with volunteer firefighters in rural Wisconsin and glimpsed the perilous conditions experienced by migrant workers along the U.S./Mexico border. We’ve seen life improved by the arts and education in inner city America, and most recently, we explored the vital role that nature plays in the health and well-being of all people. We’ve had the opportunity to discuss these books with the authors and our neighbors, learning more about the world, ourselves, and each other in the process.”
This year’s Reads selection is entitled, Wonder, by R. J. Palacio. Wonder has been on the New York Best Seller list for middle grades for over 58 consecutive weeks and was chosen not only for its widespread appeal, but also because we believe the book will provide an opportunity to engage a large portion of our community in discussions about bullying, accepting people who are different than ourselves, and about disabilities and challenges in general.
Wonder is a story that inspires compassion, self-reflection, and empathy. The characters are unique and yet familiar in some way, so that your heart immediately intertwines with the story of this special boy, Auggie, his family, friends, and others who challenge him along the way. While written for middle school ages, the writing is entertaining for people of any age or walk of life and will lead to valuable family discussions about what it is to be a friend, to stand up for others different than ourselves, and to find our own way in a complicated world.
The precepts in the book are things that all of us should consider and grow from. One precept, or rule to live by, states, "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." The book has started a Choose Kind movement across the country where people can sign a pledge to make a difference through random acts of kindness.
We are thrilled that Wonder has been selected as the 2014 Fox Cities Reads and hope that people of all ages will read, talk, listen, and grow while considering how they can make a difference in their community. Learn more at www.foxcitiesreads.org and stop by the library to pick up a copy of the book today!