Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Revisiting Wonder by Reading The Julian Chapter and Looking Over 365 Days of Wonder

I regularly teach Wonder.  As I was preparing to teach it this semester, I decided I'd finally buy 365 Days of Wonder--which includes a quotation or precept for each day of the year along with some observations from Mr. Brown.  On Amazon, I noticed that I could buy an additional chapter--one for Julian, who is the most antagonistic character in Wonder and whose perspective was never included.

I was so excited for this addition.  This excitement was lessened a little when I later learned this chapter is included in the latest edition of the paperback--there I was at the front of the class, exclaiming that there was a new short story with all of my students staring at me, thinking, "Crazy woman, we already read those sections...."  Sigh.  I'll seem way cooler when I teach it again in the fall.

In terms of the actual story, the first half of Julian's story is his perspective for the events in Wonder.  I found this half to be "blah."  It didn't really help me to empathize or sympathize with Julian.  The second half, however, was far more engaging.  Julian travels to France and learns some things about his grandmother's childhood that provides him with a new perspective.  This made The Julian Chapter worth reading.

So, it's nice having this expansion to Wonder.  It really is one of my favorite books to share with future teachers.  I assign it to every single one of the students in my department when they take my class on diversity in schools.  It's the very first work of fiction I assign to them.  It demonstrates the value of empathy.  I also show them this video, which distinguishes empathy from sympathy.

Recently, our department added murals throughout our building.  I was excited, because I got to share my ideas with the artist and a lot of the books I teach were included.

Wonder is included in the mural of giant books
near the entrance to my department.
Now I'll have to teach Wonder for as long as our department is in this building.

Tasty Rating:  !!!

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