Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner. (Young Hoosier Book Award, 2009-2010, 6-8 Nominee)
“Here is a story of loss and discovery. Lou is old and alone, living on a small farm in the middle of a Minnesota winter. Kek is young and lost, new to America from a Sudanese refugee camp. Lou thinks she has nothing left, but discovers she alone has what Kek needs. Kek thinks he knows nothing useful in this new life, yet he brings a little happiness to all he meets. In caring for Lou’s old cow, Kek reclaims the wisdom of his old life. Kek tells us that “you will have lived just half a life if you never love a cow.” Venture into this sweet story for a glimpse of the wonder of a cow and how it changed a life.”
Re-posting today, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. Today, October 10th, is the main character Auggie’s birthday. The day has been chosen to help celebrate the Choose Kind movement – an anti-bullying campaign started by the author. It’s not just about being nice, it’s about being kind…which is more than just being polite.
Slate: Wonder is the Best Kids’ Book of the Year. Slate talks to R.J. Palacio about bullying and empathy. (Empathy is when you are aware of and sensitive to the feelings of other people.) It is a great article for kids and parents both.
Every Kid Needs a Hero Blog Post by Peter’s Mother. Peter has a craniofacial syndrome like Auggie’s. Here is a message for readers of Wonder from Peter himself:
If you don’t know about Auggie yet…read about him here:
Auggie is ten and has never been to school. His Mom teaches him at home. For fifth grade Auggie’s Mom and Dad decide it would be a good idea for him to try school. He’s never been to school AT ALL so he’s going to start in Middle School. What do you think? Would you want to do that?
Auggie isn’t sure what he thinks about school because he’s never been there. He knows he wants one thing though, friends…and school is where the other kids are. Auggie just wants to be a regular kid.
I think the only person in the world who realizes how ordinary I am is me.
My name is August, by the way. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. (page 1)
The reason Auggie hasn’t been to school yet is because he has had 27 surgeries since he was born. He has an extreme facial abnormality. He did survive, and now he’s strong enough to not just survive; he’s strong enough to live, to grow, to learn and to go to school. But he still doesn’t look like other kids. In Middle School, kids worry if their shoes aren’t like the other kids’ shoes. Auggie’s got something different that is a lot different, and he can’t do a thing to change it.
Wonder is a “so truthful it hurts” story about an ordinary kid in an ordinary family in an ordinary school…living an extraordinary life. Life can be difficult and confusing and messy and make you cry, even while it is being wonderful. I loved getting to know Auggie and his family, especially his sister Via. I really liked that the point of view of the chapters change so that you hear from Auggie, as well as his sister and some of the kids at his new school. This is important because this isn’t just Auggie’s story, it is their story too. It takes them all to get the story right. Author: R.J. Palacio
If you liked reading Auggie’s story and understand what it feels like to want to be just another kid in the crowd, but feel stuck being known for something about yourself you didn’t choose and can’t change, try one of these. And if you identify more with Via, Auggie’s sister, try Rules.
Dwight’s advice giving Origami Yoda got him into some trouble in The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back. Now Dwight’s kicked out of McQuarrie Middle School and goes to the Tippett Academy.
Sometimes the kids see Dwight, but when Dwight is seen, he acts very strange. Strange for Dwight anyway…because Dwight is acting NORMAL. That can’t be right. What exactly is the Tippett Academy and what have they done to Dwight?
When Sara shows up at school with a paper fortune teller that looks like the wookiee Chewbaca, she starts handing out advice Origami Yoda style. If Dwight made the Fortune Wookiee does that mean Chewie gives good advice too even though Dwight isn’t there? How is it that the advice comes out of Sara’s mouth?
Tommy starts another case file to solve TWO mysteries this time…is the fortune wookiee real…and what in the world is wrong with Dwight?
Another funny week at McQuarrie Middle School. I have to say…love that Sara. No wonder Tommy likes her.
Georges has a lot going on. His Dad lost his job and his Mom has started working extra shifts at the hospital. His family had to sell their house and move into an apartment. New apartment. New School. New friends. (If he can find any.)
When Georges and his Dad see a note in the basement laundry room that says, “Spy Club Meeting — TODAY,” they laugh. How dumb. What good does it do you if don’t know the TIME of the meeting?
So Georges’ Dad writes underneath “What time?” Later, when Georges returns to the basement to get rid of some boxes he sees that someone has written “1:30?,” so Georges adds “OK.”
This mysterious conversation with unknown persons is the beginning of an unusual friendship between Georges and two kids who live in his building: Safer and his sister Candy. Safer is the eyes and ears of the apartment building. He knows stuff. Like how weird Mr. X is and how the Spy Club needs to find out exactly what he’s up to.
Why does Safer suspect Mr. X and how does he know so much about what goes on in the building? Georges is about to find out. As Safer reveals more and more about his techniques Georges has a diffiult time figuring out when what they are doing is real, or a game. Poking around in people’s business can be tricky, and awkward….and dangerous! And sometimes the REAL mystery isn’t what you were investigating at all. Author: Rebecca Stead
Also by Rebecca Stead, the Newbery Award winning When You Reach Me. Also try some of these other books about kids digging around, solving mysteries right in their own life. You don’t have to go far to find a mystery to solve:
Afraid that she is crazy, thirteen-year-old Mia, who sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound, keeps this a secret until she becomes overwhelmed by school, changing relationships, and the loss of something important to her. Author: Wendy Moss
“Mia has a secret. Because of her secret, she feels different and alone, as do many people at age 13, or 17, or 38. Mia’s brain works a bit differently in that she sees colors when she hear sounds or reads words or does math. Mia talked about it for about a minute when she was in 3rd grade. She thought that everyone was like her. That did not turn out well. Kids laughed. There was whispering behind her back. She found herself alone.
Fast forward to eighth grade. Mia finds a name for “it” online and she finds actual people online that have similar experiences. Suddenly, she is not the only one.
Now, Mia lives in two worlds: an online world where she can talk about everything and the “real” world which still is not easy on people who seem a little different. How much can Mia reveal without negative consequences? Are her abilities a blessing, a curse, or something in between? Who can you tell who are and not leave anything out?”
Recommended by: Tamara Baumgartner - Lawrence Branch
If you have ever felt like Mia…different…and you liked reading her story you might also like these books about other kids who also have to figure out how much of their “differentness” to share with others.