If You Liked Wonder... Try:
Click on the picture of the book for more title information and click on the VIDEO link (if applicable) to watch a video trailer or author interview for the book.
Special notes to Teachers/Librarians are also included with ideas for program or classroom integration.
ABBOTT, TONY. FIREGIRL. NEW YORK : LITTLE, BROWN, 2006. PRINT.
Interest Level: 3-6 Reading Level: 4.1
AWARDS/STARRED REVIEWS: Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred 07/01/06, Publishers Weekly starred 05/22/06
Awkward and overweight middle schooler Tom is impacted greatly by his friendship with new girl Jessica, who is undergoing treatment for severe burns that have drastically disfigured her. The other students refuse to welcome her and talk about her behind her back. Tom, used to feeling ostracized himself, reaches out to Jessica and a life-changing friendship begins for Tom. He learns to stand up for what is right no matter how uncomfortable that might be. He learns to look beyond appearances and finds out that beauty is more than skin deep.
This book is a perfect companion novel to Wonder. There are many similarities to Auggie and Jessica and the themes of friendship, self-acceptance and acceptance of others.
Special note to teachers/librarians: This book would open up so many avenues for discussion in the classroom or library group.
Wonder "Tag" Themes: Originality, Acceptance, Kindness, Friendship, Courage, Being Different, Bullies, Individuality, Self Confidence, Courage, Inspirational, Doing What's Right!
ANGLEBERGER, TOM. THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA. NEW YORK : AMULET BOOKS, 2010. PRINT.
Interest Level: 3-6 Reading Level: 4.7
AWARDS/STARRED REVIEWS: ALA Notable Children's Books 2011
Told in journal entries from a selection of 6th grade classmates, students (including Tommy) try to determine if their odd class member Dwight's origami Yoda is actually a wise oracle or not. Dwight is ostracized and made fun of as the class weirdo until he arrives to class with an origami Yoda, speaking in a funny voice. The kids are blown away by the origami Yoda's wisdom, good advice, extensive knowledge and uncanny mysticism. Is the Yoda for real or is it just Dwight being strange again...but oddly wise? Students wonder if there is more to Dwight than they thought. Can they all look beyond the weirdo persona to see the real value of the person beneath?
Another great novel to pair with Wonder because of the examination of what lies below the surface. A real message in the book is to look beyond appearances and seek the value in each other.
Special note to teachers/librarians: So many discussion possibilities are here. These books both address real issues that present themselves in the everyday lives of young people everywhere.
Wonder "Tag" Themes: Originality, Acceptance, Kindness, Friendship, Being Different, Bullies, Individuality, Self Confidence, Inspirational, Doing What's Right!
DRAPER, SHARON M. OUT OF MY MIND. NEW YORK : ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS, 2010. PRINT.
Interest Level: 5-8 Reading Level: 4.3
AWARDS/STARRED REVIEWS: Booklist starred 01/01/10, Kirkus Reviews starred 02/15/10, Parents' Choice Silver Honor 2010, School Library Journal starred 03/01/10, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) starred 08/01/10
Award-winning author Sharon Draper presents an unforgettable character in 5th grader Melody. Melody is brilliant, with a photographic memory and astounding intelligence, but she is unable to communicate due to severe cerebral palsy. Her hero is scientist Stephen Hawking, who has been able to make a tremendous impact on the world in spite of his extreme disability. Melody feels trapped in her body and unable to express herself to those around her. Teachers and students assume that she is mentally retarded, but are amazed at her intellect and wisdom when Melody is finally able to communicate through a Media-Talker computer.
There are definitely many, many shared themes between this book and Wonder.
Special note to teachers/librarians: Out of My Mind would make a great supplemental read and encourage conversation about not judging a person by appearances. Sometimes a genius, an artist, a comedian, a writer or a really great person comes in less than typical guises.
Wonder "Tag" Themes: Originality, Acceptance, Kindness, Friendship, Disability, Being Special, Being Different, Bullies, Individuality, Self Confidence, Courage, Inspirational, Doing What's Right!
ERSKINE, KATHRYN. MOCKINGBIRD. NEW YORK, NY : PHILOMEL BOOKS, 2010. PRINT.
Interest Level: 5-8 Reading Level: 4.1
AWARDS/STARRED REVIEWS: ALA Notable Children's Books 2011, Kirkus Reviews starred 03/01/10, Publishers Weekly starred 03/08/10, 2010 National Book Award Winner
Erskine has written a deeply emotional and touching novel in Mockingbird. Fifth grader Caitlyn is having a tough time in life. Her older brother was tragically killed in a school shooting and she feels totally alone in the world. Caitlyn has Asperger's Syndrome and her brother was her real connection to the world; he helped her figure out her emotions and how to respond to the confusion around her. She sees things very black and white and has a hard time deciphering the actions and emotions of her fellow students. But it is the grief of her classmates that helps her finally begin to deal with her own and she works toward closure and healing with those around her.
Inspiring and heartbreaking, this book has definite connections with Wonder. Caitlyn is very different than her fellow classmates and has a hard time fitting in. She deals with grief on a larger level than Auggie did with the death of his dog, but there are some similarities to their situations. Both feel alone among strangers much of the time and slowly learn to connect in small, positive ways to the other kids around them. Both characters also serve as an inspiration to their fellow students.
Wonder "Tag" Themes: Originality, Acceptance, Kindness, Friendship, Disability, Being Special, Being Different, Individuality, Self Confidence, Courage, Inspirational, Love
ESTES, ELEANOR,SLOBODKIN, LOUIS,THE HUNDRED DRESSES. NEW YORK: HARCOURT, BRACE AND CO. 1944. PRINT.
80p., col. ill.
Interest Level: 3.6 Reading Level: 4.8
AWARDS/STARRED REVIEWS: Christian Library Journal starred 08/01/04, Newbery Honor 1945
Considered a classic in children's literature, The Hundred Dresses tells the story of Wanda, a Polish immigrant who wears the same tattered blue dress to school every day. She is teased by the other students and so she tells an elaborate tale of the hundred dresses that she has at home. This opens Wanda up to more teasing from the children at her school, but all students end up learning an important lesson about the value of kindness and the hurtfulness of mean words.
Although this story is set in a very different time and place, there are definite correlations between the themes in The Hundred Dresses and Wonder. The themes of being different and dealing with bullies are shared in both books, as well as the value of kindness and acceptance of those that are different than us.
Special note to teachers/librarians: These values are timeless and young people will be interested in talking about these issues that are very present in their everyday lives. Both books could serve as a catalyst for meaningful and relevant discussion.
Wonder "Tag" Themes: Originality, Acceptance, Kindness, Friendship, Being Different, Bullies, Individuality, Self Confidence, Courage, Inspirational
GANTOS, JACK. JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWED THE KEY. NEW YORK : HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS, 2000. PRINT.
Interest Level: 5-8 Reading Level: 4.9
AWARDS/STARRED REVIEWS: ALA Notable Children's Books 1999, Horn Book starred 11/01/98, Publishers Weekly starred 10/26/98, School Library Journal starred 12/01/98
Gantos presents a unique character in Joey Pigza. Joey suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and has a very hard time sitting still, focusing and doing anything but bouncing around and getting into mischief. He has been living with his hyperactive grandmother for the past several years, but his mother comes back into the picture and gets Joey some help with Ritalin. Except the Ritalin tends to wear off every day while he is in school and that means trouble. Gantos does a great job of presenting Joey's very difficult situation with a lot of humor and heart. Joey is surrounded by adults that want to help him as best as they can. His sporadic and sometimes baffling ADHD behavior gets laughs from his classmates, but he doesn't feel understood at all. Readers are shown a glimpse of what life is like with ADHD and cannot help but feel empathy for Joey in spite of his oftentimes frustrating behavior.
Young people will no doubt see connections between Joey and Auggie's characters simply because both boys feel like misfits and feel misunderstood by those around them. Both characters have to navigate the choppy, confusing waters of their school day, dodging bullies and rude kids, attempting to make sense of the world around them and accepting themselves for what they are. They both struggle to find where they fit in the world around them.
Special note to teachers/librarians: There is a lot of discussion potential in this book and many students these days have been diagnosed with ADHD, so teachers/librarians should be mindful of any topic of discussion that might embarrass an afflicted child.
Wonder "Tag" Themes: Originality, Acceptance, Kindness, Disability, Being Special, Being Different, Individuality, Self Confidence, Courage, Inspirational
HOWE, JAMES. THE MISFITS. NEW YORK : ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS, 2001. PRINT.
Interest Level: 5-8 Reading Level: 5.5
AWARDS/STARRED REVIEWS: Booklist starred 11/15/01, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) starred 12/01/01
In James Howes' inspirational book, a group of middle school misfits band together to start a third party to run for student government officers. Their target voters are any kids who have ever been called names. The small group of misfits are made up of kids who have been teased for being too fat, too tall, too girly and too "hood". The story has a lot of humor in it, but also a lot of difficult emotion as the reader hears what it is like for the teased and bullied characters during every day of school. One of the misfits gets the school to start a no name-calling initiative and, in small ways, the kids learn that they can make a positive impact to improve their school and their world.
This book has some obvious comparisons to Wonder. The themes of bullying and acceptance of others, as well as themes of courage, doing the right thing and inspiring others for good are emphasized throughout both stories.
Special note to teachers/librarians: This would be a great book to inspire students to start a No-Name Calling Week at their school.
Wonder "Tag" Themes: Originality, Acceptance, Kindness, Friendship, Being Different, Bullies, Individuality, Self Confidence, Courage, Inspirational, Doing What's Right!
LORD, CYNTHIA. RULES. NEW YORK : SCHOLASTIC PRESS, 2006. PRINT.
Interest Level: 3-6 Reading Level: 3.9
AWARDS/STARRED REVIEWS: ALA Notable Children's Books 2007, Newbery Honor 2007, Schneider Family Book Award 2007
Cynthia Lord introduces some very full and realistic characters in her novel Rules. Main character 12 year-old Catherine helps take care of her younger autistic brother by teaching him "rules" like "keep your pants on" and "toys don't belong in the fish tank". She can see beyond his disability and value her brother for who he really is because she loves him dearly. Catherine meets a 14 year-old paraplegic boy named Jason who is learning to speak through vocabulary cards. Catherine realizes that the awkwardness she feels at times with Jason is how many people feel about her brother. Her new friendship and the realizations that come along with it widen Catherine's perspective of the diverse and perplexing world around her.
Rules could pair nicely with Wonder in many ways. Both deal with individuals that would be considered "different" or "disabled", but are really just ordinary kids beneath their appearances.
Special note to teachers/librarians: Themes of acceptance and making friends with people who are different than us would make for some inspiring conversations with young students/patrons. Both books inspire the reader to be a better person to those around them and to reach out to those misfits on the fringes of society.
Wonder "Tag" Themes: Originality, Acceptance, Kindness, Friendship, Being Different, Being Special, Individuality, Self Confidence, Courage, Inspirational, Doing What's Right!