WONDER-ing what to read next…?

It’s nearly time for Auggie Pullman to grace the silver screen, and in the spirit of “the movie’s coming out so hurry up and read the book,” here are a few of my favorite things about Wonder that I hope will compel you to pick up a copy, and perhaps read it with your students:

Wonder: Read Aloud Activities for the Classroom 1. Wonder makes no bones about the fact that middle school is not for the faint of heart.

Curious though I am about time travel, if you plunked me in front of a wormhole that would transport me back to early adolescence, I’m not sure I’d go through it. Because middle school is haaard. In addition to the usual ups and downs of 5th grade, Auggie also has to deal with the fact that he was born with a craniofacial anomaly and, as Palacio put it in a 2013 NPR interview, “having to face a world every day that doesn’t know how to face [him] back.” Bullying, academic worries, self-concept, family and how we deal with differences are all explored from 10-year-old Auggie’s vantage point.

2. Wonder presents distinct, believable voices.

Readers also get a sense of what the people around Auggie are going through, as the narration shifts between several charactersincluding Auggie’s sister and friendsas the story unfolds. The varying perspectives foster empathy and enrich the story, both by deepening the reader’s understanding of Auggie’s character and what he’s facing, and reminding readers that we all have our own journeys and struggleseven if they’re not apparent.

3. Wonder serves as a gentle reminder that we all have the capacity to be kind—and to the capacity to be insensitive.

As Sirius Black once said (yes! I do somehow manage to bring everything back to Harry Potter, thank you for asking): “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” It’s the element of choicechoosing kindnessthat resonated with me while reading Wonder. Every day, in every encounter, we make choices. We have endless opportunities to choose kind, to have open hearts and minds, to treat others with dignity and compassionand on the flip side, endless opportunities to do the opposite. Now more than ever is the time to examine and discuss those choices, and to be mindful of their reverberations in our lives and others’. Wonder can help bring those discussions about.

Wonder would make an excellent class read aloud, especially in preparation for a field trip to the cinema! It’s sure to spark conversations, particularly when it comes to examining how we treat others. It has a wonderful cast of realistically flawed characters that readers will root for and relate to, and the events of the book beg to be discussed with and by kids who may be grappling with similar issues.

Wonder Read Aloud Activities and Resources 

Booksource Teacher Resource for Wonder (includes connections to standards and links to help teach 21st century literacy skills)

Reading Response Activities for Wonder

Wonder Read Aloud Resources

Wonder Discussion Questions for Teachers (from author R.J. Palacio’s website)

Wonder Movie Trailer (debuts in theaters November 17, 2017)