R.J. Palacio’s briskly selling debut novel Wonder (Knopf, Feb.) about a fifth-grade boy with a facial deformity who attends a mainstream school for the first time, continues to inspire readers and publishers alike. Riding the enormous swell of support for the title, Random House Children’s Books has just announced the launch of Choose Kind, an online anti-bullying campaign designed to encourage students, educators, families, and readers of all ages to combat bullying by practicing everyday acts of kindness.
Visitors to Choose Kind's site will be able to share their personal experiences with bullying, sign the Pledge to Choose Kind (and print a certificate that says they’ve done so), learn more about Wonder and Palacio, and find a collection of resources, including links to other anti-bullying efforts like the It Gets Better project, and a digital toolkit of Web badges and stickers for use with other social media.
Wonder is already at home in the digital world as it created plenty of word-of-mouth buzz early on via its Twitter hashtag #thewonderofwonder, and has been lauded by librarians, teachers, and parents in numerous blog posts. Random House U.K., which published Wonder as a children’s novel in March and will release an edition for adults on June 6, is helping to spread the word as well, with its full backing of the campaign.
According to RHCB president and publisher Chip Gibson, the effort’s global reach enables the company to give supporters “and anyone around the world the opportunity to discover the story and to pledge with us to Choose Kind.”
Palacio is among those who firmly believe in the potentially awesome power of the campaign’s message. In a statement she said, “Celebrating those who have made the choice to be kind – not always an easy thing to do when you’re a kid! – is the best way to raise awareness of this very simple fact: kindness is a virtue whose ripple effects can literally change the world.”