“Moving” and “inspirational” were words used by Form 5 following their virtual visit from Sam Drazin, whose aim was to bring Wonder to life.
Through this half of term, Form 5 has studied the powerful novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This story is about the fictional young character August who has facial differences because he was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome.
“I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an Xbox. Stuff that makes me ordinary, I guess. And I feel ordinary inside. But I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.” Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder charts August’s journey as he starts mainstream schooling, makes friends and navigates the 5th Grade. The book depicts the difficulties that August faces to be accepted by society and has the underlying message that we all should “choose kind.”
Sam Drazin is an educator, a public speaker and someone with a disability. Sam was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which is the same condition as depicted in Wonder. Therefore, Sam is uniquely qualified to speak to the issues surrounding empathy, differences, inclusion, kindness, and being open to and accepting of diversity. He held the children’s attention throughout the presentation during which you could have heard a ‘pin drop’.
Speaking from his home in the East Coast of the USA, Sam shared with the children his story of growing up with Treacher Collins Syndrome and described the eight operations that he faced as a child. He drew similarities and differences between his life and that of the fictional character, August, in the book. He welcomed the children’s questions, of which there were many, and reached out to all to live better lives, under the banner of “choose kind.”
Many thanks to Sam Drazin in the USA and our IT Department in Surrey, whose combined wizardry, inspiration and care helped Wonder come to life at Cranleigh Prep.