As part of Choose Kind Chicago, we’re featuring a guest blog by R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder. This blog post is inspired by a letter Palacio wrote to 3-year-old Mary Cate Lynch and her family. Mary Cate, of Beverly, was born with a rare condition called Apert syndrome; she and her mother, Kerry Ryan Lynch, make presentations at schools throughout the Chicago area emphasizing Palacio’s message to Choose Kind. Chicago Public Library joins Choose Kind Chicago in October by hosting events at CPL locations, recommending books and featuring R.J. Palacio as our Author of the Month.
I’m very grateful to the organizers of Choose Kind Day in Chicago for inviting me to participate. It’s hard for me to put into words how humbled I am by the notion that Wonder has in any way, shape or form made an impact on so many people.
To me, Wonder still remains a little book with a simple message: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I wasn’t an author when I started writing the book—just a mom who wanted to tell a story that my children would enjoy reading, with things I thought worth writing about: compassion, empathy, courage, friendship and faith in the goodness of people.
It’s that faith that binds us all, despite our differences—whether they’re obvious differences, like the ones Auggie Pullman and children similar to him experience, or less obvious differences. We all share the hope that the kindness of people—the love of family, the humor found among friends, and the tender mercies of strangers will be a light to all of us along our life journeys.
I hope Choose Kind Day is the beginning of a new age of kindness, heralded by an army of the kind, a generation of children who grow up understanding that kindness can and should be the norm, not the difference. Kindness is the thing that not only binds us together as human beings, but gives us our humanity.