A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories is a collection of short tales spun off from R.J. Palacio's bestselling Wonder. Auggie, a student with severe facial deformities who anchored Wonder, appears briefly but is not the focus of this companion book. Each story is told from a different perspective: a bully, an old friend, and a new classmate. Characters who seem at times unkind are treated with empathy: Their cruelty isn't excused, but the stories help explain some of the reasons people behave in ways they know are unkind.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
AUGGIE & ME opens with Julian, who sheds light on why he targeted Auggie and how it affected his relationship with students and adults and Beecher Prep. After leaving school, he spends the summer in Paris with his grandmother, who shares a story that has a profound effect on Julian. The second story follows an extraordinary day in the life of Christopher, who is Auggie's oldest friend but has grown distant from him. And the final story centers on Charlotte, one of Auggie's assigned "welcome buddies" and her doubts and successes as she tries to find friendship amid the shifting terrain of middle school relationships.
Is it any good?
This collection of three stories is a thought-provoking read that may well encourage readers to see classmates, friends, and family in a new light. More of a spin-off than a sequel to the much-acclaimed Wonder, it digs deep into themes of kindness, friendship, accountability, and integrity with a deft understanding of middle school social drama. Auggie & Me follows three students in vastly different circumstances learning important lessons about relationships: Julian confronts his own cruelty and his enabler parents, Christopher acknowledges his selfishness and the work needed to stay close to important friends and family, and Charlotte expands her circle to embrace new friends.
Author R.J. Palacio has a gift for understanding the pressures of middle school. As in Wonder, some characters and situation seem a little too shiny and happy to be true. But they're presented with such sincerity and faith in the basic goodness of people, it's hard to take issue with it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how these stories intersect with Wonder. Do you like the way author R.J. Palacio expanded the storytelling here, or would you have preferred closer ties to the original novel or a more central role for Auggie?
Julian is a bully in Wonder. Does hearing more from his perspective change your view of him?
If you've read Wonder, pick another character you'd like to hear from and try writing fan fiction from that character's point of view.
- Author: R.J. Palacio
- Genre: Short Stories
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: August 18, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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