Palacio was compelled to write Wonder after her youngest son (who at the time was three years old) started crying after noticing a girl with facial birth defects was sitting beside him as they were waiting in line to buy ice cream. Palacio attempted to discreetly sit her son away from the girl so as not to upset her or the girl's family but ended up only intensifying the situation once ice cream was spilled. Reflecting on the situation while listening to Natalie Merchant's song "Wonder" had her realize that the incident could teach a valuable lesson. Palacio was inspired by Merchant's lyrics and thus began writing.
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