Auggie & Me

by R.J. Palacio (2015)

Can’t get enough of Wonder?  Wait, there’s more!

R.J. Palacio hasn’t written an actual sequel – but what she has created is a set of three extended stories, or novellas – each of which further explore the themes in Wonder.  In her own trademark style, Palacio offers us three new characters, three new perspectives, three new windows into how to see and choose kind.

The Julian Story naturally tells the Auggie story from the perspective of Auggie’s nemesis – Julian.  By offering Julian’s rich and nuanced background, Palacio explains why she wouldn’t sport a sticker that says “Don’t be a Julian.”

Pluto tells the story from the perspective of Auggie’s original best friend – Christopher.  From him we learn that being Auggie’s friend really can be a trial and demand wellsprings of sensitivity that not all kids – even good kids – have all the time.

Shingaling shows you what it’s like to be in a girls’ clique – in this case an unexpected trio that includes Ximena Chin, Summer Dawson, and Charlotte Cody.  Here, Palacio provides another telling angle into the heads and hearts of adolescence – creating lessons from Venn Diagrams, ‘60s doo-wop, and the lonely musician on the corner.

Palacio’s supplementary stories create rich opportunities for valuable discussion. Middle school students will see themselves in these pages.  Educators and parents will see their own preteens anew and more than likely reflect on their own middle school experiences, too.  Auggie & Me engages readers by promoting dialogue, asking questions about social norms, and exposing cracks that can break down barriers. It encourages. It teaches.

By the end of each their respective chapters, Julian, Chris and Charlotte have all reached new understandings and become different people. Their relationships with Auggie contribute to each change, yet each child, because of their own faults and environments, matures and learns about the world on their own terms.  Exploring Auggie & Me together, you will witness struggles and successes and everything that comes with growing up; responsibility, selflessness, independence, and maturity – all essentials in learning how to choose kind.

Auggie & Me is an ideal supplementary read for any middle school seeking a rich text to each valuable moral lessons have a positive impact on your school and greater community.