Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Wonder

Palacio, R.J. (Author)
Penguin Random House 2012. 316 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9780375869020 (hardcover)
9780375899881 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

August Pullman is in many ways a normal 10-year-old—he’s really into Star Wars, still likes his parents to tuck him in, loves Halloween. But Auggie also has severe craniofacial anomalies, for which he has undergone surgery 27 times. For medical reasons, he’s been homeschooled for years, but this year marks his foray into a real school. He’s used to eliciting surprised and even fearful looks: “I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds.” But middle school also brings social complications, unexpected alliances and hurtful betrayals. With the love and laughter of his family and the support of the Beecher Prep principal, Auggie not only makes it through Grade Five having made friends of those who once wouldn’t even touch him, but he also wins the school’s citizenship award.

The distinct first-person perspectives of Auggie, his older sister Via, his friends Jake and Summer, and Via’s boyfriend and former best friend, which shift with each section, offer a prismatic take on living with severe disfigurement. The characters, particularly Auggie, use humour to cope with the genetic bad luck of his condition—the “giant lottery” of the universe.

Each section of short, engaging chapters is headed by quotes about acceptance, change, appearance, beauty and achievement. The precepts assigned by Auggie’s English teacher emphasize empathy, a quality that is championed throughout the book and concluding at graduation when the principal reminds his students to “try to act a little kinder than is necessary.”

  •  How true to you think it is that “beauty is skin deep”? Reflect on this question before and after reading the book.
  •  Draw and write to show Auggie’s outer and inner characteristics.
  •  

    What character do you most relate to? Use a graphic organizer to compare one of the characters with yourself.

  •  Why do you think the author chose to write this book from multiple perspectives? What do you think would happen in a chapter from the point of view of Julian?
  •  What award do you think Jack, Summer and Olivia deserve to receive at the end of the book? Explain why.
  •  

    Listen to the synopsis read aloud. As a group, discuss and list what someone entering school in Grade Five would need to learn about how school works.

  •  

    Look at how the book is organized (parts, chapters). Discuss why each part has a different name. Read the chapter titles and imagine how the story could unfold.

  •  

    Create a character map for Auggie and two other people in the story. Compare your map with those of classmates and discuss the differences.

  •  

    Discuss the meaning of precepts (as collected and used by Mr. Browne). Look at the precepts on pages 311-313. Discuss their meanings as a group. Choose one that you like and write why it speaks to you.

  •  

    Kindness is a big idea in this story. Which actions from the book could be reused in your school setting?

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being