Since its publication five years ago, R. J. Palacio’s Wonder has spread kindness in classrooms and communities across the country and inspired the Choose Kind anti-bullying initiative.
Now educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with the publication of We’re All Wonders, a gorgeous picture book featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio herself.
Those who have read Wonder know that it is truly a portrait of—and a tribute to—a community. As a result, it has been selected for countless common reading programs. The pairing of We’re All Wonders and Wonder will give educators the opportunity to bring even younger readers into the discussions about bullying, kindness, empathy, and self-esteem. Here are some ideas from children’s literature consultant Pat Scales for using the two books together:
For Reading Buddies Programs
- The word buddy implies friendship and belonging, which are underlying themes in We’re All Wonders and Sharing a favorite book is the best possible introduction for newly formed buddies. Pair an older and younger student, and encourage them to share a favorite book. Advise older buddies to select books they read when they were younger to simplify the conversation and create a truly shared experience.
- Illustrations tell much of the story in picture books. Have reading buddies read the illustrations in We’re All Wonders. How is Auggie different? Which illustration reveals how lonely and sad he feels?
- Suggest to older readers that they do a two-minute book talk about Wonder after reading We’re All Wonders with their younger reading buddy. Then the two should engage in a conversation about ways to help someone like Auggie feel as though he belongs.
- Instruct reading buddies to locate five other picture books about belonging and kindness to use after reading We’re All Wonders. Talk about the books and what they communicate about kindness to others. How is helping someone belong about being kind?
- Ask reading buddies to plan ways they can demonstrate kindness to others. Then have them log their acts of kindness for a week.
For School- and Community-Wide Reading Programs
- Define inspiration. How is Auggie an inspiration to readers of all ages? How might his story inspire a school or community-wide conversation about the way we treat those who are different?
- Throughout the year, there are awareness days, weeks, and months to highlight issues related to public health or social causes. National Bullying Prevention Month is commemorated in October. Sponsor a school- or community-wide event where a panel of speakers with physical and cultural differences talk about the way they have been treated by others. What ways might the school and community improve issues related to bullying?
- Talk about ways that murals tell stories and communicate themes. Suggest that schools and communities provide spaces for students and citizens to contribute to murals that depict the following themes: diversity, kindness, caring, friendship, and belonging. Then prepare a brief speech that dedicates the murals to Auggie Pullman.
- Sponsor a school- or community-wide kindness day. Plan activities for all ages that are inclusive and encourage kindness. This might include a “Run for Kindness” race, or team activities like sack races. It might also include a sing-in where songs like “We Are the World,” “The More We Get Together,” and “It’s a Small World” are sung.
- Suggest that older students use Auggie as inspiration and create a rap titled “Changing the Way I See.” Ask them to teach the rap to younger and adult readers. Then tape a school- or community-wide rap performance.
Another great discussion tool? Share an audiobook clip!
LISTEN to a clip from We’re All Wonders read by Kivlighan de Montebello:
Visit choosekind.tumblr.com for additional resources, including starter materials for the Wonder Certified Kind Classroom Challenge.