I had so many teachers last year begging me to do a novel unit on Wonder by R,J. Palacio. I was deep into a series of science units for high school, so I put it on my to-do list. I knew I wanted to do this novel, but was not sure when. Well, this December while in the car for over 12 hours, I finally found the time. Boy am I glad I did!!
A great read
This is an amazing story of one boy’s struggle to be just another kid despite his very visual differences. The book chronicles his first time in a public school setting at the age of 11, going into 5th grade. As you can imaging, there are some pretty awful experiences, as well as some heartwarming ones. In the end, he comes away the hero, causing us to shed more than a few tears at his triumphs.
A bonus chapter
So, I happened to pick up the book with a bonus chapter that was not included in every version of the novel. It was a chapter, solely from the protagonist’s view point, Julian. Julian is that boy in the book that we all want to dislike. He is a privileged, upper class boy with parents who use their money and power to get what they want. Julian is not kind. He is the stereotypical bully who we wish could just feel a little bit of the hatred he puts out. But, then we learn more.
This chapter looks more deeply into why Julian is the way he is. You get a glimpse at his own hidden disability. It is a good lesson, that you never know what struggles an individual may be dealing with. In the end, you still feel anger and dislike for Julian. His actions were pretty horrible, regardless of his home situation. But, you do understand him more. You may even look differently at those students who do not seem to have enough compassion and kindness for others.
I have created some FREE activities to go along with this bonus chapter. As with all my novel units, I created them for students with autism and significant learning challenges. Even if your students struggle with comprehension, they will still be able to do and benefit from these activities. Click the button below this short video to download them.