Chapters 121-123 Summary
At first, August does not realize that he has won the final award. But everyone around him starts cheering and chanting his name, and they tell him to get up and go to the podium. Kids wave to him and high-five him on his way to the front. One of the teachers actually cries tears of joy.
August feels like he is floating as he walks to the front of the room. When he arrives, the audience gives him a standing ovation. August finds this amazing. He feels like he is a character in Star Wars receiving an honor for blowing up the Death Star.
As August stands onstage, he wonders why anyone would give him a medal. But just as quickly, he figures out the answer. He is the kind of person that people call brave because they cannot imagine facing the challenges he faces.
To August, this seems strange. He still feels like a normal person, but he decides that he is okay with winning an award just for being himself:
I didn’t destroy a Death Star or anything like that, but I did just get through the fifth grade. And that’s not easy, even if you’re not me.
At the reception after the ceremony, August decides he is not embarrassed when his parents and sister hug and kiss him. His grandparents and aunts and uncles hug him too. It surprises August to see Miranda crying with happiness for him. When she hugs him, she refuses to let go until Via laughingly pulls her off.
People start taking pictures with August, and for once he smiles at all the cameras without worrying about his face. Soon Jack and Summer come over to pose with him, and then a bunch of other kids do the same. Pretty soon, almost the whole class is squeezing in for pictures with August. To his surprise, they do not try to avoid getting close to his face. In fact, it seems like they are all trying to shove in closer.
The Walk Home
August’s family throws a little party after the reception, and Jack’s and Summer’s families join them. The weather is beautiful as they all walk home together, and August still feels like he is floating on air.
August walks with Jack and Summer. They all keep laughing at everything they see. The adults are laughing and joking too, but August notices that his mom is not with them. She is trailing behind, smiling quietly. On impulse, August pulls away from his friends and gives her a hug. He thanks her for sending him to school.
When Mom thanks him back, August asks what he has done that deserves thanking. Mom says that she is grateful to have him in her life. She is glad that he is himself. As Wonder ends, she whispers, “You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder.”