Wonder by RJ Palacio touches the lives of everyone who reads it.
I'm currently reading this book to both of my sixth grade literature classes, and while one class BEGS me to read everyday, the other class has remained stoic in their emotions about it. They listen attentively and answer questions with pinpoint accuracy during class discussions, but I have yet to really get any sort of emotional response from them.
Today was the day I have been dreading because, you see, this was the day where we came to a pivotal part of the story that just happens to be really sad. Like "can't see to read through your tears" sad. And while I've read this book four times already, I still managed to let loose a torrent of tears while reading it in front of both sixth grade classes. My eager class who always begs me to read the book remained stoic in their emotions (or they were just really good at hiding them) while I sat there blubbering through the words on the page. But something magical happened in my usually stoic class: as I struggled to read my way through the sad part, I heard an accompaniment of sniffles and snorts to backup my own tears, along with a few students who got up out of their seats to grab tissues.
It was a moment I will always remember with this class because they allowed themselves to be vulnerable when most of them have spent a great deal of time building up their middle school armor of dispassion and indifference. The only time they generally show emotion is to declare something unjust, unfair, or just plain dumb. Who would've thought that a fictional fifth-grade boy named August Pullman could get them to open their heart and affix it directly to their sleeve.