Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June Book Club: Wonder

For June's Book Club, we read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Harry, Evan, Callum, Cameron, Calvin and John were present and Andreas participated virtually. Miss Lisa used the Random House website on Wonder in order to steer this book club conversation. Here are our thoughts…

Friendship— Discuss the characteristics of a good friend.: 

Cameron: Be nice, not boring, want to do stuff

Callum: Treat people the way you want to be treated

Harry: They should never lie to their friends

Calvin: Thoughtful

Evan: Trustworthy

John: Loyalty

Which of Auggie’s friends demonstrate these qualities?:

Cameron: Jack Will. Jack wanted to be cool and be with the other kids which didn't work out for him.

Harry: Jack Will said the rude stuff that he said in order to keep in touch with his older friends.

Calvin: Summer. Jack wasn't consistent in his friendship.

Evan: Max, Amos, Henry and Miles ended up sticking up for Auggie.

What characteristics of a good friend does Auggie possess?:

Cameron: He is trustworthy and loyal. He's not boring. He's funny

Callum: Honesty.

Harry: He'll help you out if you have trouble and protect you. He helped Jack Will with his homework.

Calvin: Thoughtful

Evan: Trustworthy

How does Auggie help his friends see him as an ordinary kid?:

Cameron: He acts like a "normal" kid and tries to make people at ease about his face. He jokes around.

Callum: He tries to act cool and fit in.

Harry: He lets them go to his house so that they can see that his home life is really normal.

John: In the beginning, he says that he does all of these things that normal kids would do.

How does Auggie’s ability to be comfortable in his own skin make it easier for his friends 
and family to relate to him?:

Cameron: Kids at school aren't afraid to address the issue of his face because he shows that it doesn't bother him.

The other boys felt that this was the perfect answer.

In Mr. Tushman’s speech at the end of the year, he shares this quote, “Always try to be a little kinder than necessary.” How does being kind help someone overcome challenges?:

Cameron: Be more kind than you can be. If someone is kind to you, you'll want to go to school. If people are mean to you then you might not want to participate.

Callum: When you get bullied, it might affect you. You might become one.

Harry: If you're nice to people, they'll want to help you out.

Calvin: Sometimes being nice still doesn't help.

If you could change a scene in the story, which one would it be? Why?:

John: I think that Jack should have punched Julian a lot harder than did. 

Evan: I think that Auggie should have worn his Bobba Fett costume.

Callum: I think that while everyone gave a precept, Julian should have said something negative about the school. 

Andreas had a class assignment to write another chapter to Wonder using another character's voice/perspective. Andreas chose Principal Tushman and this is his amazing chapter:

My Story
This is my story of August Pullman. The wonder who won the Beecher award. Yep. He caused
happiness and sadness of the past year himself. (Not all of it) I am so surprised with what he did.
Why? Because having an abnormal face when you just start school and try to fit in is so brave. I
bet I won't see someone like August again. He is a person who is "a billionaire in uniqueness".
Here is my- and some of his story at Beecher last year.

Calls That Prepared our School-For Better or For Worse
I knew that everyone new in Beecher gets a tour- always. But for a kid who's never been to
school and might get teased because of his face- It's going to be harder. I've seen pictures of
August. He has a severe facial deformity and a cleft palate. It's going to be hard, so I'm going to
pick 3 kids to help August at his first year. Charlotte is a very polite and thoughtful girl. I called
her parents. (Ringing) "Oh hi Ms. Cody? It's Lawrence and I would like to know if Charlotte
wants to befriend our new student who might have a hard time fitting in." I call Jack's mom. " Hi
Ms. Will? Its Lawrence and I would like to know if Jack is up to befriending a new student who
is different." I call Melissa. "Hi Mrs. Albans! Is it okay if Julian befriends a new student at
Beecher?" Jack Will, Charlotte Cody and Julian Albans were available. They are super nice kids except
for Julian who soon applied out of Beecher because he didn't fit in and he was a bully. I
didn't know about Julian back then, so I had to keep my eyes peeled if this call went for better or
for worse. You never know.

School Tour
I finally met August for the first time before school started. He was a bit shy but had a sense of
humor- we talked about my last name, Tushman and August said that his parents knew someone
called Ms. Butt. We talked to each other and introduced August to Ms. Garcia, my assistant and I
showed August his home room and introduced him to Charlotte, Julian and Jack. I see them leave
safely out of their home room. No chance to keep my eyes peeled. Anything can happen now.

Everything was fine until Halloween. August plays the stomach ache and he's gone. He's gone
for a while and I start to think who's responsible. Charlotte? No, she's too kind. Julian? Nah.
People hide their feelings when it comes to bullies. No one else really knows who he is so who
did it? Who is this August? The August I know is nice, not absent. Who turned the key? Who
made him transform?

Punches, Email and More
All I know is that about a month after Halloween, something big happened and it hit the world
of Jack and Julian like a meteor that hit the earth 65 million years ago. The punch. Evidence says
that that Jack punched Julian right in the mouth. That's it. I talked to Jack but he seemed shy and
upset. What caused this meteor to hit? Can't be nothing. So I suspend Jack for 2 days so his
suspension goes right into winter break. I say it'll be clean slate. No such luck. I just didn't know.
Julian's mom emailed me and the Wills and said that August should be expelled because he
caused the commotion. Back to slate.

Dirty Slate
I was so happy thinking that everything was okay. I looked in August and Jack's lockers and I
was aghast. There was a note saying:
Dear Jack and Zombie,
Nobody likes you. You stink. From, Julian
Horrible. I had betrayed Jack. Instead of clean slate, Julian slapped mud on it. I have to tell
August right away. Poor them.

The Big Trip
This really showed August was a wonder. Going and fighting a bunch of 7th graders showed
that he was brave even without his face lowering confidence. It seemed okay when we got to the
reserve. The next day we went to the fairground. When we were watching a movie, August and
Jack disappeared and came back all bloody with Miles, Henry and Amos and August didn't have
his hearing aids. Someone must have stole them. Amos tells the story to everyone and fame
spreads. After the trip, I tell August that Edward Johnson vandalized the hearing aids and ask him
if he would charge Edward. Then I tell him that Julian is applying out and he was happy. He was
also surprised I saw the dirty slate. This is near the end of school and graduation day is on the

Graduation Day
Today is the big day. I feel choked up because I feel so happy for my students. I stand on the
podium and make my speeches and so does Mr. Jansen I present academical awards to many kids
and then here comes the good part. I say that the Beecher medal goes to someone who has
confidence, happiness and friendship. I choke up and almost cry. Not only that, but the medal
goes to someone who tests one courage and friendship and kindness. I need a drink to stop
crying. My last words of this story will be: "So will August Pullman please come up here to receive this award?"

Please rate this book from 1-5, with 5 being the best:

Cameron: 4 1/2

Calvin: 4 1/2

Evan: 4 3/4

John: 4 9/10

Harry: 4 99999/100000

Callum: 5

The book for the next Book Club meeting is The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. There will be copies waiting for you behind the Circulation Desk. We will be meeting on Wednesday, July 3 at 3:00 p.m. to discuss this book. The book for the Wednesday, August 7 meeting will be The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson.

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