Library announces 2018 Read Across Lawrence pick

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

The Lawrence Public Library has chosen “Wonder,” by R.J. Palacio, as its 2018 Read Across Lawrence pick for adults, teens and kids.

The library announced the news Monday in partnership with KU Libraries, the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library and the Lawrence Public Library Foundation.

This year’s Read Across Lawrence program runs Feb. 14 through March 17, and, in a break from previous years, features just one book instead of separate selections for younger and older readers.

“Wonder,” the New York Times bestseller first published in 2012, follows August Pullman, a young boy with facial deformities, as he navigates the fifth grade. After years of homeschooling, August just wants to be seen as a normal kid, but his classmates seem to have other ideas.

“We picked ‘Wonder’ because we feel it speaks to all ages. It sends an important message of kindness, hope, and the power of friendship at a time when bullying has reached epidemic proportions,” Brad Allen, executive director of the Lawrence Public Library, said in the news release. “It’s also important to us to show that good literature is being produced for children. Once we grow up, we typically don’t read it anymore and this is a chance for the ‘big kids’ to get back to their roots.”

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

The Lawrence Public Library will hand out free copies of “Wonder” at 1 p.m. Jan. 15 in the auditorium in conjunction with the library’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service celebration. Other activities planned for that day include a diversity-focused storytime and a screening of Ava DuVernay’s 2016 documentary “The 13th,” as well as a free Hy-Vee lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

The library, Lawrence Public Schools and the Lawrence Schools Foundation are teaming up to provide 1,000 copies of “Wonder” to students, teachers and classrooms across Lawrence, thanks to a grant from the Douglas County Community Foundation.

For more information on this year’s Read Across Lawrence programming, visit