Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Grades 3-4 Book Club: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

We had an interesting book discussion about Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Nine participants were present. Thanks to Abbie, Alexandra, Evan, Julia, Kelsey, Molly, Natalie, Olivia, and Rileigh for attending! Please read some of the comments about the book below, taken from the author's website.

Throughout Wonder, Auggie describes the way that many people react to seeing his face for the first time: by immediately looking away. Have you ever been in a situation where you have responded like this to seeing someone different? Having now read Wonder, how do you feel about this now? 

 -I have looked at someone weirdly (on the subway). After having read the book, I know that there are two sides to every story and will try to keep my feelings to myself.
-I saw a girl with a skin condition at a museum and I couldn't stop staring at her. 
-I remember when I was little and there was a girl at a store. She had burned skin and casts all over. I screamed and hid. Now I try not to do things like that.
-I was a playing street hockey outside of my house. A girl walked outside of my house walking a dog. The dog was all scratched up and missing fur. I was staring at it and then I could see that the owner was looking at me.
-Once, I saw a man whose eyes were moving all over the place. I was staring at him and screamed a bit. Now, I would try to keep my feelings to myself.
-Everyone agreed that they would apologize to the people that they had stared at before.

How would you describe Auggie as a person in the first few chapters of the book? What about the final few chapters? Has he changed significantly? Are there any experiences or episodes during the story that you think had a particular effect on him? If so, how?

-I think people got used to his face toward the end of the book. He wasn't as sad anymore.
-I think he changed a lot. One of the events that changed him was when the other kids beat him and Jacob in the woods during the field trip. 
-I think that at the beginning of the book, Auggie was pretty babyish. After he went to school, he learned about life, friendship and other stuff people learn.
-I think that he relied on his mom too much at the beginning of the book. He didn't have much of a life of his own. But when they got beat up in the woods, everyone sort of rallied around Auggie. People became much more friendly.
-In the beginning, Auggie didn't really know what to expect in the real world. He didn't know the reality of life. In school, he learned about friendships.
-I have to agree. AugustI didn't have a life before he went to school. His parents and sister always took care of him so he didn't have to do anything for himself.
-At first, no one stood up for August. Even the kids who were asked to be friends with August weren't great to him. By graduation, he was rewarded. All of the people cheering for him made a big difference. People who took the time to get to know him ended up liking him.

Look at the emails between Mr Tushman, Julian’s parents and Jack’s parents in the chapter ‘Letters, Emails, Facebook, Texts’. Up to this point in the story we have seen how the children at Auggie’s school have reacted to him. Is Mrs Albans’ attitude towards Auggie different? What do you make of her statement that Auggie is handicapped? Do you think she is correct in saying that asking ‘ordinary’ children, such as Julian, to befriend Auggie places a burden on them?

-It's not too much pressure to ask someone to be friends with someone. 
-I don't think that it's pressure because all he's asking is for someone to be nice to him at the beginning of school.
-I don't think it's bad to be friends with someone. Some of the characters were really mean to Auggie.
-I imagined a kid at our school as being kind of like Auggie. That's what I thought about when I read this.
-There was a consensus that no one liked Mrs. Albans.

The precepts (rules to live by) from the book:

"When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."   —Dr. Wayne Dyer
"Your deeds are your monuments."   —Inscription on ancient Egyptian tomb
"Have no friends not equal to yourself."   —Confucius
"Fortune favors the bold."   —Virgil
"No man is an island, entire of itself."   —John Donne
"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."   —James Thurber
"Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much."   —Blaise Pascal
"What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful."   —Sappho
"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can."   —John Wesley
"Just follow the day and reach for the sun."   —The Polyphonic Spree

"Everyone deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world."   —Auggie Pullman

Precepts that some of the Book Club members shared:

"Keep your bad feelings about other people to yourself. Think about how you would feel if you were that person."

"Treat others how you want to be treated."

"Every once in awhile shine a little."

"Everything in the world deserves some sort of animal love in their life. Also some animal hate. With all good comes bad."

"Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you."

"Always obey Evan."

"Always be kind, not goody-two shoes."

"If you were to choose being happy or always right, choose happy."


The next Grades 3-4 Book Club will meet on Wednesday, May 7th at 3:00 p.m. We will be discussing A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz.
"In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches. Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after."- summary

April Grades 3-4 Book Club: The Collectors

For April's Book Club, we read The Collectors by Jacqueline West. Gavin, Kailynn, Luna, Mira, and Mark were present. This...