There are books that can have a profound effect on us. They touch our hearts and help us grow in ways that can be life-changing. If your child has read Wonder by R.J. Palacio and has perhaps followed the “Choose Kind” movement, then they may be looking for more books about kindness.
Here are 10 middle-grade chapter books for kids who loved Wonder that encourage compassion, empathy, kindness, and acceptance of differences.
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10 Books for Kids Who Loved Wonder
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Melody is the smartest girl in her school. She has a brilliant mind and even has a photographic memory, but because she has cerebral palsy, she is seen as stupid. Then she is given a keyboard to use to communicate with and suddenly all of her thoughts are no longer trapped inside.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this story is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. When Stella, an elephant, that lives next to Ivan, gets sick but before she dies, asks Ivan to promise to try and free the newly captured baby elephant named Ruby. Ivan begins to see his enclosure as a cage instead of a habitat. He does all he can to get the humans to pay attention and help Ruby.
Books that Encourage Compassion
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions. She also finds it comforting to count by 7s. When Willow’s mother and father are killed in a car accident, her life is tragically changed. She has but one friend, Quang-ha, and their lives begin to intertwine in a most extraordinary way.
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Catherine is a twelve-year-old that just wants a normal life. She finds a normal life impossible having a brother with autism. Catherine helps her brother by making rules for him. Her love for her brother is as real as her frustrations. Then she meets Jason, a non-verbal paraplegic who uses a book of pictures to communicate. She begins to realize that rules for behavior are less important than the acceptance of others.
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Nine-year-old Ada was born with a club foot and has been a virtual prisoner in her mother’s one-room apartment since as long as she can remember. But when her abusive mother sends her little brother away during World War II, Ada sneaks away with him. So, begins a new adventure for Ada where she learns to read, ride a horse, and to trust.
Books for Kids Who Loved Wonder
Restart by Gordon Korman
Chase wakes up with amnesia after falling off a roof. He can’t remember anything, not even the kind of person he was. When he gets back to school he begins to learn who he was through the reactions of others. Turns out, he was a pretty mean kid. But now he has the opportunity to restart his life.
Maxi’s Secrets: (Or, What You Can Learn from a Dog) by Lynn Plourde
Timmy isn’t thrilled with moving to a new town. His one consolation is that he gets Maxi, a Great Pyrenees puppy, whom the family discovers is deaf. As Timmy struggles in a new school, Maxi ends up being the one to help him. along with his new neighbor, Abby. She doesn’t let her blindness define who she is and bristles at Timmy’s “Poor Me” attitude.
*Maxi does die, so please pre-read if you have sensitive kiddos*
Books That Encourage Empathy
Ugly by Robert Hoge
This memoir is about Robert Hoge, a real-life Auggie Pullman. Robert was born with a tumor the size of a tennis ball in the middle of his face and short deformed legs. Doctors were able to remove the tumor and give Robert a nose made from one of his toes. Everyone agreed that Robert was ugly. But he didn’t let that stop him from following his heart.
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Disability does not equal stupidity. Ally is a talented artist and math whiz, but she has a secret. She feels stupid because letters don’t make sense to her. They are difficult to decode and seem to move around on the page. After being misunderstood by other teachers, Ally is transferred to Mr. Daniels’s class. There she finds support and encouragement and is finally able t let go of her protective shell.
Grades 5 and up
Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
The start of fifth grade for seven very different kids is filled with bullies, brains, pranksters, new kids, and shy kids. Only Mr. Terupt, their new teacher, seems to be able to know how to deal with them. He teaches them valuable lessons no matter how hard some of them work to shut him out. Until a snowy prank results in a tragedy.
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What other recommendations do you have of books for kids that loved Wonder?
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