Language & Thinking
Read: Read Wonder, a #1 New York Times bestseller. Synopsis: “August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder,… included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.”
Leadership & Entrepreneurism
Discuss: Via tells Auggie, “you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.” This is a profound statement because of how empowering it is. Everyone has a comparative advantage to everyone else. Discover what yours is and own it. In what way do you stand out? How are you making the most of that?
Watch: See how the concept of the bending of light (or ‘refraction’) is explained in the movie.
Children & Teenagers
Watch & Reflect: Watch this 3-minute interview with someone who has Auggie’s condition, known as Treacher Collins syndrome. Notice how her condition helped her become better as a person. She has developed a sense of humor and is recognized by others as someone who has an enhanced sense of others’ character. Reflect on your own life’s challenges and think of how they can make you a better person.
Discuss: one of the major themes of the movie is acceptance – accepting people for who they are as a person, instead of their appearance. Everyone in Auggie’s school needed to learn this for themselves, but only after a lot of emotional turmoil for him. Not everyone is as strong or as well supported as he is. Who do you know that you think needs your acceptance?
Children & Teenagers
Create a teachable moment. Auggie proves to the world what is possible with the combination of kindness, courage, and forgiveness. You can’t help but wonder how you would respond if you were in his shoes and everyone were staring or pointing at you. Would you be kind to them? Could you bring yourself to stand up to them? Could you forgive them after all hearing them say horrible things about you? His kindness, courage, and forgiveness helped him win the hearts of the most unlikely friends. He ended the school year with a lot of friends to spend his summer with and got a standing ovation for his leadership award.
Volunteering and Service
Discuss: Who do you know that have been disadvantaged in life and can use a friend’s kindness? What can you for them that they would appreciate?
How else might important subject matter be learned from this interest topic? Comment below! Half-baked ideas are more than welcome, too.