Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
Thank You, Mr. Falker is about a little girl named Trinity with dyslexia who struggles to read. Trinity had always loved having books read to her ever since she was very young. On her first day of learning how to read in first grade, she was excited to finally be able to read her favorite books. However, as all of the other students in her class started to make letters into words and sentences, all Trinity could see on the pages were scribbles and shapes. Soon, she feels dumb, and other kids make fun of her for not being able to read. This goes on until she reaches fifth grade when she meets Mr. Falker, who stands up to Trinity’s bullies and recognizes her potential. Mr. Falker works with her every day after school and eventually teaches her how to read by never giving up on her. After thirty years, she becomes a successful writer, and meets Mr. Falker again to tell him, “Thank you, Mr. Falker. Thank you.”
We’ll Paint the Octopus Red by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
We’ll Paint the Octopus Red is a story from the point of view of a little girl named Emma who awaits the birth of her younger brother, Isaac. Emma eagerly talks to her father and imagines a million things she wants to do with her new brother when he is born. When Emma’s father tells her that her brother will be born with Down Syndrome, she worries that her sibling won’t be able to do everything that she imagined doing together. As Emma and her father review the everything Emma wanted to do with her younger brother, both of them realize that Isaac will be able to do anything as long as they give him enough time and patience to grow.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Wonder is a novel about a ten-year old boy named Auggie who was born with a facial deformity. Auggie was homeschooled until middle school when his parents decided that he needed to interact with other students at a real school. Told through multiple perspectives of the people involved in Auggie’s life, the story not only portrays Auggie’s struggles to accept himself and fit in while getting bullied but also depicts the difficulties of Auggies sister, Via, who deals with her problems of being pushed aside in her family. The story is also told through the points of views of Auggie’s friends at school, who struggle with making moral decisions on whether to fit in with the popular kids or to do the right thing and remain being friends with Auggie. By the end of the year, Auggie receives an award for his kindness and bravery, realizes that he has made a strong group of friends, and successfully teaches his class: “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”
Palacio, R. J. Wonder. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.
Polacco, Patricia. Thank You, Mr. Falker. Philomel Books, 1998.
Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie. We’ll Paint the Octopus Red. Woodbine House, 1998.