Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October Book Club: Wonder by RJ Palacio

We had an interesting book discussion about Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Nine participants were present. Thanks to Alba, Amelia, Ava, Charlotte, Claire, Elizabeth, Fiona, Finley, Lauren, and Luna for joining in! Please read some of the comments about the book below, taken from the author's website.

1.  Don’t judge a boy by his face
What do you think of the line ‘Don’t judge a boy by his face’ which appears on the back cover of the book? Did this affect how much you wanted to read the story?

-It made me curious to read the book.

-It would make me intimidated to read.
-It makes sense for that to be on the back of the book because that's what it's about.
-We are all the same on the inside and didn't choose to look that way.
-It would make me wonder what it's about.
-I didn't read the book but I had seem it before and it made me feel nervous about reading it.
-I would think it would be a boring book, just about one thing.
-When I first saw it, before I ever read it, I thought it was called Eye Wonder because of the art of the cover.

2.  Auggie’s appearance

·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?

-The author wrote this book because of an incident that happened at a store.

-I've never that way but if I had, I would probably feel bad for what I did and regret it.
-I haven't done that but if I did and then read this book, I would be ashamed of myself.
-I try to get a closer look at them.
-I looked away but now that I know that it would make them feel bad.
-When I went to Disney World and someone was staring at someone else, I made sure not to stare at them.
-Most people look away because they can't help it and it's rude to stare.
-People walking around someone who is handicapped is rude.
-I think it was rude for Julian to say "this is an eraser", saying that he thought Auggie didn't know anything because he looks different, like he's dumb or something.
-Julian asked in front of him in a rude way "did you walk through a fire?"
-When Julian's mom cut Auggie out of the school pictures. That was the worst.
-When the other kids started breaking away from Julian realizing that he's wrong
-When they were on the field trip, I liked that August's friends stood up for him.

·Auggie’s face is not fully described until quite far on in the story, in Via’s chapter ‘August: Through the Peephole’. How close was this description to your own mental picture of Auggie? Did you have a picture of his face in your mind while reading the book? Did this description alter that picture?

-I had a picture of a boy who had a ton of scars on his face and people still teased him. I realized that it wasn't so bad as not to be his friend.

-I imagined that you could see red in his eyes and his nose was crooked.
-The picture in my head was way worse than what I read.
-I imagined his face as droopy. 
-I imagined him something like what they said in the book but I didn't imagine his eyes halfway down his face.
-It said he couldn't hear sell so I imagined his ears just a little smaller.
-I imagined him to be tall and thin and his eyes droopy and mouth droopy. And his eyes halfway closed.
-I thought that maybe didn't have eyelids and wouldn't be able to smile that well because his mouth is straight.

3. Auggie’s personality

·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?

-The difference isn't in his face, it's in his personality. He changes from being a shy, scared kid to being a brave, nice person.

-In the beginning, he's afraid to meet people because he thinks they'll make fun of him but by the end, he's made friends who support him.
-He's much more bold and brave.
-He was shy and then he turned bold after he met more people.
-He was a kid who put pressure on himself but then began to like himself.
-I think the part that sticks out is that people avoid him and by the end he was someone everyone wanted to know.

4. The astronaut helmet

·In the chapter ‘Costumes,’ Auggie describes the astronaut helmet that he wore constantly as a younger child. We later learn that Miranda was the one to give Auggie the helmet, and is proud of the gift, but that it was Auggie’s father who threw it away. What do you think the helmet signifies to each of these characters and why do you think they all view it so differently?

-I think that Auggie loves the helmet because he wore it everyday and it was his special thing (so that he wouldn't be embarassed in public), his dad was annoyed that people couldn't see his real face and Miranda was happy to have given hi
m something so precious.

-If I were Miranda, I'd want to see Auggie's face.
-Miranda was like a sister to Auggie.
-I think that the dad also because you couldn't see his inner beauty.
-Everyone was fighting over Auggie but in different ways.

We started running out of time here, so we sped up and only had a few of the kids give answers. They were all so into discussing this book, it was hard to tamp down that enthusiasm!

5. Via

·What did you think of Via as a character? Did you empathize with her? Why do you think Via was so angry to learn that Auggie cut off his Padawan braid? Do you think Via’s own attitude towards her brother changes throughout the story?

-I'm not sure why Via is so mad but the book says that sometimes she just is mad. Maybe it's because he took so long to grow it.

-Since August was in the hospital a lot, it was one of the last memories she had of Auggie
-I think that Via's attitude changed throughout the book. At first she was a little embarassed of Auggie and by the end she accepted him.

6.  At the ice cream parlor:

·The author has explained that she was inspired to write Wonder after an experience at a local ice cream parlour, very similar to the scene described in the chapter ‘Carvel’, where Jack sees Auggie for the first time. In this scene, Jack’s babysitter Veronica chooses to get up and quickly walk Jack and his little brother Jamie away from Auggie, rather than risk Jamie saying something rude or hurtful. What do you think you would have done, if put in that position?

-Via glared at Jack after he had a bit of an outburst about Auggie.

-Veronica rushed away with the kids.
-I would slap Jamie in the mouth.

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:

-"There may be doubt in who you are but there's never any doubt that you are someone."
-We have something we say to be kind to people.
-"Live your life and have some freedom."
-"There are limits but sometimes you have to push yourself past those limits."
-"There's a time for this and there's a time for that and now is a time for that."
-"If something brings you down, just get up and try again."

The next Grades 3-4 Book Club will meet on Wednesday, November 15th at 4:00 p.m. Miss Lisa will be on vacation during our normal week (second Wednesday of the month).

We will be discussing The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.

"Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who adored him completely. And then, one day, he was lost. . . . 
Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. Along the way, we are shown a miracle – that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again."-

Please be sure to pick up your copy of the book at the Circulation Desk and to register for each session of the club so that Miss Lisa knows how many snacks to buy!

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