I am thrilled to be back with my first book list of 2023! This has been such a fun list to put together. I hope you enjoy it!
Wonder by RJ Palacio has been in my top 10 of all time favorites for years. And every time I read it, I am reminded why. This beautiful story about the power of friendship and kindness especially towards those that are different is simply fantastic. I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already!
Today I am sharing 10 books to read if you love Wonder — or 10 books to read with characters with disabilities. These are great stories that have protagonists with physical or mental disabilities. Some I have read with my kids and others I look forward to sharing with them when they are a bit older. The conversations that can come from these books are profound and important. Hope you enjoy my list of 10 books to read if you love Wonder.
**Please note: I make every effort to talk about people with disabilities with respect. I apologize if I refer to specific diagnoses or types of disabilities in ways that are incorrect or rude. I certainly do not mean to do so! I admire people who live with disabilities and the many people who love and support them. Thank you. **
Auggie and Me: 3 Wonder Stories by RJ Palacio // A great place to start is in the world of Auggie Pullman. This collection of 3 short stories within the Wonder universe are fantastic additions to Auggie’s story seen through the lens of three of his classmates. She has also written a book about Julian’s grandmother called White Bird that is on my TBR.
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca // Temple Grandin is an amazing expert on livestock and animal behavior as well as an advocate for autism and neurodiversity. This picture book is simply beautiful and tells her story growing up as a child with autism. I love the pictures and the rhyming words.
Splash by Claire Cashmore // Claire was born with only one hand and became a Paralympic gold medalist! In this beautiful book, she tells her story of how she could do anything her sisters did and overcame her fear of water. My kids love this one! Check out this video of the author reading her book!
Leo and the Octopus by Isabelle Marinov // This gorgeously illustrated book tells the sweet story of Leo, a boy with autism, who bonds with an octopus at the aquarium. I love the simple ways this story introduces how kids with autism might feel in different situations. We have a good friend with a child with autism who I gifted this book to. This book has helped me talk with my kids about autism. The ending is lovely as well!
Rules by Cynthia Lord // This middle grade novel tells the story of Catherine and her little brother David who is on the autism spectrum. Catherine gives David rules to help him understand the world around him. I appreciated Catherine’s perspective as a sibling of someone with a disability.
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper // In this novel, we read about Melody’s journey with cerebral palsy. I loved getting inside her head and getting to know her personality. Melody cannot speak so she learns to communicate with a special computer. I was fascinated by her interactions with her family and classmates. We read this for book club a few years ago and the conversation we had about it was fantastic! The sequel came out recently, and I have it on my TBR: Out of My Heart.
When Stars are Scattered by by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamud // This book is simply beautiful. The gorgeous illustrations in the graphic novel are stunning and the story is full of hope and joy. Omar and his little brother, Hassan, live in a refugee camp separated from their family. Hassan is non verbal so we get to know him through Omar. I appreciated Omar’s experience learning how to treat Hassan as a capable member of the family and work together to make their life better. An important story!
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley// Ada was born with a club foot and is treated poorly by her mother. When WWII breaks out, she leaves their one room apartment for the first time and goes to the country with her brother, Jamie. They live with an older woman named Susan who begins to change their lives and introduces Ada to a whole world of experiences that she never thought possible. I love this book so much! The sequel, The War I Finally Won, is also compelling and insightful as Ada has a surgery to repair her foot and must heal in more ways than one.
Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick // It has been several years since I read this book. But I remember it being powerful. It follows the unlikely friendship of two boys. One unusually tall but mentally slow and the other in leg braces but a bit of a genius. I remember enjoying their friendship and the unexpected twists in their story.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan // Perhaps a bit of a surprise choice, but I think these books belong on such a list. Percy’s journey to understanding his powers and fighting for what he believes in begins with his dyslexia and his difficulties in school. Sometimes, disabilities are hard to see but that doesn’t make them less real. This books are so much fun and action packed. But at the heart is a boy that has struggled and wondered if he was good enough.
I loved putting together this list! Are there any books you would add?
6 thoughts on “10 Books to Read if You Love Wonder”
I remember reading Freak the Mighty and watching the movie. It a very heart felt book.
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I remember it the same way!
I love Percy Jackson the Olympians, which led to my love for Greek Mythology
I have disabilities myself, but view them as “differences” not disabilities
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Thanks so much for your comment Meg! I appreciate that distinction. Differences rather than disabilities. Thanks for sharing.
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