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New York, U.S.A. – Random House Children’s Books launches Choose Kind, a campaign to encourage students, educators, families, and readers of all ages to combat the nationwide rise in bullying with every day acts of kindness, it was announced by Chip Gibson, President and Publisher. The initiative was inspired by âWonderâ,Â the debut novel by R. J. Palacio, which tells the story of Auggie, a fifth grader with a facial deformity who attends a mainstream school for the first time.
“Wonder has inspired us, and captured our hearts entirely,” said Gibson. “The outpouring of enthusiasm from book lovers and educators moved us to share the poignant message of this novel with a wider audience. I am proud to give them, and anyone around the world, the opportunity to discover the story and to pledge with us to Choose Kind.”
ChooseKind.tumblr.comÂ is the online home of the campaign, designed as a next step for the ardent supporters of the novel who have been asking for additional resources to use in sharing âWonderâ and its message with families, schools, and communities across the country. Each section of the site offers an interactive user experience.
Additionally, the campaign will have a global footprint with full support from Random House UK, which will publish âWonderâ for adult readers on June 6, 2012, following its release as a children’s novel in March.
“Celebrating those who have made the choice to be kindânot always an easy thing to do when you’re a kid!âis the best way to raise awareness to this very simple fact: kindness is a virtue whose ripple effects can literally change the world,” says âWonderâ author R. J. Palacio. “One child at a time, one person at a time, there’s no greater antidote to bullying than the steadfast refusal of children, teachers, and parents to accept a culture where bullying is tolerated.”
A word-of-mouth sensation from the start, with its Twitter hashtag, #thewonderofwonder, the book has also been the topic of countless blog posts from parents, teachers, and librarians praising its ability to relay a universal message from the story of one unique boy. Clara Beatty, a nine-year-old girl with Treacher-Collins Syndrome, was already reading âWonderâ when the Associated Press spoke with her and her family for a recent feature. Her parents Janet and Eric were impressed with Palacio’s skill in realistically portraying Auggie’s experience, noting “As a family with a child of facial difference, ‘Wonder’ gives an amazingly accurate view of our world from a number of perspectives. We are hopeful that this story raises awareness of how being kind can be powerful.”