What To Read After... Wonder
Published on: 18 December 2017 Author: Emily Drabble
Wonder by RJ Palacio has been a bonafide hit, sparking spin-off books and even a movie starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. But if you loved it, what should you read next? We have some ideas... and you gave us some great recommendations too!
RJ Palacio's groundbreaking debut Wonder was published just five years ago, but it has swiftly become a beloved modern day classic. Now it's a film starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson - not to mention the fact that it's one of BookTrust's Bookbuzz reads this year - Wonder is bound to win over many more fans. But what can fill the place Auggie Pullman takes up in your life and heart when you've finished reading it?
Fans of Wonder will be after a book that will sweep them up, where they can feel an all-engrossing, burning empathy for the characters - and they're probably looking for something written in first person, as Wonder is. They might be after another thoughtful book, a serious book to make them think, and one where the characters become part of their lives - even change their lives.
'Serious' books for this age group - without romance or teen themes - can feel surprisingly thin on the ground, with many books tending towards the funny or fart-obsessed fare that many children love, but others may find too flippant. So here are some of our suggestions...
For the serious souls: Dreaming the Bear by Mimi Thebo is totally different in its themes to Wonder but provides a similar emotional intensity. Meanwhile, for something funny but serious, Jack Cheng's See You In the Cosmos is told through recordings 11-year-old Alex makes on his iPod, so readers get direct access to his fears, passions, big questions and emotional intensity.
For those after a new hero to root for: Try Morris Gleitzman's Once, followed by Then, Now, and finally After. The main character Felix experiences acts of inhumanity in the second world war, but also acts of kindness. And despite everything he remains full of courage and hope; it's truly a beautiful series.
Meanwhile, Amy McKay, school librarian of the year 2016, has a recommendation for younger teens - We Are all Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen:
'It's full of charm and highlights the importance of celebrating and supporting difference.
'Stewart reminds me a lot of Auggie; his perspective on the world and the positive effect he has on those who embrace him make them very similar. It deals with quite difficult issues, but with a fairly gentle touch and I find it the perfect book to recommend to Year 7s and 8s who have loved Wonder. Like Wonder, I honestly believe that upon finishing We Are All Made of Molecules the reader is a slightly changed and better person.'
Or you could always go for the classic, ultimate 'climb into someone's skin and walk around in it' teen read: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
When only more from R.J. Palacio will do...
RJ Palacio has written two companion books: 365 Days of Wonder and three short stories in Auggie And Me. And for younger readers, there's a new brilliant picture book to introduce them to Auggie - We're All Wonders.
Once again, you came up with lots of brilliant ideas about what to try next and sent them to us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #WhatToReadAfter. Here are some of your fantastic recommendations:
Freak The Mighty
Freak The Mighty by Rodman Philbrick was a popular suggestion, with @Jake_Hope saying the 'brilliant' book is 'a fantastic, moving, and incredibly life-affirming story that is likely to stay with readers for a lifetime!' He was joined by @LizScottPR, who described it as 'an absolute favourite'. Sounds like it's definitely one for Wonder readers to investigate...
Jo Cotterill's books
One by Sarah Crossan
This Carnegie Medal-winning novel about conjoined twins - told in verse - was another book to get a lot of love. It's 'another moving book about disability, and how teenagers overcome the challenges', explained @BarnetLibraries, while @agnesguyonhall said it would 'fit the bill perfectly' for Wonder fans ('And it's such a wonderful book!')
More of your brilliant recommendations
You came up with lots of other brilliant ideas of books to read after Wonder, like these:
- Brilliant author Susin Nielsen got involved, suggesting Lisa Williamson's The Art of Being Normal. 'It's a bit [more for] older [children] than Wonder but so beautiful and riveting.'
- @GordonAskew was bigging up Breadcrumbs and The Real Boy by the 'incomparable' Anne Ursu ('preferably both'), explaining that they are 'fantasy metaphor for very real issues'.
- 'Brilliant book' - that was @susankmann's verdict on The Nowhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie.
- @Davidmarsh80 suggested readers try Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and Rules by Cynthia Lord, while @Oathall_LRC bigged up Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl and The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
- The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson and MG Leonard's Beetle Boy were @debtex's choices: 'Both heartwarming, inspiring, and [say] it's okay to be different!'
- A few great ideas came from @bookloverJo, who proposed Swimming To The Moon by Jane Elson, All The Things That Could Go Wrong by Stewart Foster, and the 'wonderfully empathetic' Do You Speak Chocolate? by Cas Lester.
- @Christs_Library kept it simple when recommending Kiran Millwood Hargrave's The Island at the End of Everything ('It is just fantastic'), while @librarymice offered up Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine and My Brother Simple by Marie-Aude Murail.
- Rob Buyea's Because of Mr Terupt and their sequels got a lot of love from @skippity_doo: 'Same structure [as Wonder] - each chapter is narrated by a different child in the class. And similar themes (bullying/kindness/friendship).'
- @LLummiss suggested Ugly by Robert Hoge and the book's illustrator @RobinsonKH was (perhaps unsurprisingly) on board. 'Described as a "real life Wonder" Robert's memoir is a funny, honest and poignant account of overcoming bullying and thriving with disabilities,' he said. 'It's about growing up different, but also about growing up, which all kids will relate to.'
Well, that should keep you going for a while! Stay tuned for more from What To Read After... and if there any books you're hooked on that you want recommendations for, let us know using the hashtag #WhatToReadAfter on Twitter.
Revisit the original book
We're All Wonders
R. J. Palacio's gorgeous picture book We're All Wonders sets Auggie off on a new adventure for young readers - take a look inside here.