Questions to Discuss
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?
How much did this line give away about the story you were about to read?
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?
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?
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?
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?
5. Star Wars
Star Wars is one of Auggie’s passions. Why do you think this is?
Do you see any reasons for Auggie to identify with these characters, or to aspire to be like them?
6. The use of humor in Wonder
Auggie’s parents bring Auggie around to the idea of attending school by joking with him about Mr Tushman’s name, and telling him about their old college professor, Bobbie Butt. To what extent is humour used as a tool throughout Wonder to diffuse difficult or tense situations, or to convey a part of the story that would otherwise be depressing or sad? Look at the chapter, ‘How I Came To Life’
What did you think of Via as a character? Did you empathise 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?
8. Mrs Albans
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?
9. 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?
10. The precepts (rules to live by)
- "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