Wonder

August Pullman. Auggie is a typical 5th grader – at least that’s how he sees himself.  But most people see Auggie quite differently. In fact most people are shocked, even horrified, when they first meet him.  Auggie has was born with a facial deformity, and until this year he has been homeschooled.  He has always known that he is different.  He is an expert at detecting the double-takes, fleeting expressions of horror, and quiet whispers of strangers, but Auggie has been blessed with a loving and supportive family, and has enjoyed a life of love and acceptance (at least at home).

But now Auggie’s parents have decided it’s time for him give mainstream school a try. Wonder tells the story of Auggie’s first year at Beecher Prep and how he is treated by his classmates (and even some of their parents).  The novel begins from August’s point of view, but different sections of the book are told, quite effectively, through the eyes of Auggie’s sister, his classmates, and even his sister’s boyfriend.

I picked up Wonder because I wanted to read a book specifically for middle schoolers.  What I found was an incredibly sad, funny, and inspiring story that should most certainly be read by middle schoolers but also teenagers, adults, and anyone who could use a lesson in kindness and empathy. Really, I cannot recommend this book enough. It is very entertaining, but more importantly, it’s the kind of book that makes you want to be a better person.

VIOLENCE

Nothing disturbing.  Auggie is bullied, but there is only one incident when it gets physical and fortunately he has backup.

LANGUAGE

None

SEXUAL CONTENT

None

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS

No.  There is brief discussion between August and a friend about reincarnation.  He finds the idea of coming back better looking appealing, but it’s only a fleeting thought.

IDEAS FOR DISCUSSION

Have you ever been in a situation when you were the “new kid”?  What was that like?

Can you think of any kids at your school who feel left out?  Who are teased?  Bullied?  Alone?

What are some things you could do to make life better for these kids?

Mr. Tushman speaks of the importance of being “kinder than necessary.”  What does that look like in real life?

What are some ways you could be kinder than necessary?

Do you think a kid like Auggie could ever really lead a normal life?

 

Linked at Powerful Mothering

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