15 Books Like Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Books Like Wonder

“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio has captured the hearts of readers worldwide with its arguably perfect story of kindness, empathy, and the power of acceptance. Centered around a boy named Auggie who faces challenges due to his facial differences, the novel beautifully illustrates the importance of seeing beyond appearances and embracing individuality. 

If you found yourself touched by the themes and characters in “Wonder,” you’re in for a treat! 

We’ve curated a list of some books that share similar heartwarming messages, diverse characters, and uplifting narratives. Whether you’re seeking another touching tale of resilience or a story that celebrates the beauty of being different, these books are sure to resonate with fans of “Wonder” and leave a lasting impact.

Books Like Wonder

1. “Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper

“Out of My Mind” is a powerful and inspiring story about a brilliant girl named Melody who is unable to speak, walk, or write due to cerebral palsy. Despite her physical limitations, Melody refuses to be defined by them and has a photographic memory

She is smarter than most of the adults around her but is trapped inside her own mind, struggling to communicate with the world. This novel takes readers on a journey through Melody’s quest to find her voice and show everyone what she’s capable of.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Wonder,” “Out of My Mind” focuses on themes of difference, acceptance, and the inner strength of its protagonist. Both books challenge readers to see beyond physical appearances and disabilities, emphasizing the importance of empathy, kindness, and the understanding that everyone has their own battles and stories. 

They inspire readers to consider the perspectives of those who are often misunderstood or underestimated.

2. “Fish in a Tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

“Fish in a Tree” tells the story of Ally, a girl who has mastered the art of hiding her inability to read. She feels dumb and is often misunderstood, which leads to trouble in school and frustration with herself. 

However, with the help of a new teacher who sees the bright, creative kid underneath the troublemaker, Ally starts to see that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of and that she has other strengths that can help her learn differently.

Major Similarities: 

This book shares with “Wonder” the theme of overcoming challenges that are not immediately visible to others. Both novels highlight the journey of self-discovery, the impact of a supportive community, and the importance of recognizing one’s unique strengths. 

They encourage readers to understand and celebrate differences, fostering an environment of acceptance and empathy.

3. “Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories” by R.J. Palacio

“Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories” is a companion book to “Wonder” that expands on the lives of three characters from the original novel: Julian, the boy who bullied Auggie; Christopher, Auggie’s oldest friend; and Charlotte, who was kind to Auggie but struggled to balance kindness with fitting in. 

These stories provide different perspectives on the events of “Wonder,” offering deeper insights into how Auggie’s presence affected those around him.

Major Similarities: 

Directly connected to “Wonder,” this book delves further into themes of empathy, bullying, and the impact one individual can have on a community. 

It provides additional context and layers to the original story, reinforcing the message that everyone has their own story and challenges, and highlighting the importance of understanding and kindness.

4. “The Thing About Jellyfish” by Ali Benjamin

“The Thing About Jellyfish” is a poignant tale about Suzy, a girl who becomes convinced that her best friend’s drowning was caused by a rare jellyfish sting. 

Suzy’s journey into grief and her quest for understanding lead her to silence and a deep dive into the science of jellyfish. Through her struggles, Suzy learns about the complexity of life, relationships, and the process of healing after a devastating loss.

Major Similarities: 

This novel, like “Wonder,” deals with themes of grief, friendship, and the search for understanding in the face of tragedy. 

Both books explore the challenges of young protagonists navigating complex emotions and situations, encouraging empathy and the importance of connection and support in overcoming personal struggles.

5. “Counting by 7s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan

“Counting by 7s” is the story of Willow Chance, a twelve-year-old genius who is obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions and who finds it comforting to count by 7s. 

Her life is tragically changed when her adoptive parents die in a car crash, leading her to find a surrogate family in a diverse group of characters who come together in unexpected ways. Through her journey, Willow transforms the lives of those around her in profound and beautiful ways.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Counting by 7s” and “Wonder” feature protagonists who face tremendous personal challenges and who, through their unique perspectives and strengths, change the lives of those around them for the better. 

The themes of unexpected friendship, resilience in the face of adversity, and the power of community are central to both stories, inspiring readers to look for the beauty in diversity and the strength in kindness.

6. “Because of Mr. Terupt” by Rob Buyea

“Because of Mr. Terupt” features the story of seven classmates and their new teacher, Mr. Terupt, whose innovative teaching methods and understanding nature make a significant impact on his students. 

Each student, dealing with their own personal challenges and issues, finds in Mr. Terupt someone who sees them for who they really are. The novel is a touching exploration of student-teacher relationships and the profound effect a great teacher can have on young lives.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Wonder,” this book explores themes of growth, understanding, and change through the interactions of a diverse group of students. 

Both novels showcase how compassion and empathy can transform lives, highlighting the importance of supportive relationships in overcoming personal and collective challenges.

7. “Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine

In “Mockingbird,” Caitlin, a young girl with Asperger’s syndrome, struggles to make sense of the world following the tragic death of her brother. 

Through her eyes, readers experience the difficulties of someone who sees the world differently, as Caitlin seeks closure and understanding in a reality that often confuses her. The book is a compelling exploration of grief, difference, and the journey towards empathy and connection.

Major Similarities: 

“Mockingbird” and “Wonder” both deal with protagonists who experience the world in ways that are not typical, and both emphasize the themes of acceptance, empathy, and the challenges of being different. 

The stories encourage readers to see the world through someone else’s eyes, fostering a deeper understanding of and respect for individual differences.

8. “El Deafo” by Cece Bell

“El Deafo” is a graphic novel memoir that follows the life of Cece Bell, who becomes deaf at a young age due to illness. Through the vibrant and expressive illustrations, readers see Cece’s journey as she navigates the challenges of making friends, fitting in, and finding her place in a world that doesn’t always understand her. 

Cece uses her Phonic Ear, a powerful hearing aid, to turn her disability into a superpower, becoming “El Deafo, Listener for All.”

Major Similarities: 

Like “Wonder,” “El Deafo” explores themes of friendship, identity, and the quest for acceptance, all while dealing with a physical difference. 

Both books inspire readers to consider the challenges faced by those with disabilities and to celebrate the unique strengths and perspectives that come from overcoming those challenges.

9. “Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick

“Wonderstruck” weaves together two compelling stories set fifty years apart, one told in pictures and the other in words. Ben, living in 1977, runs away to New York City to find his father, while Rose, in 1927, also escapes to New York to see a mysterious actress. 

Their stories unfold with mesmerizing symmetry, leading to a connection that is both surprising and moving. The novel is a beautiful exploration of family, friendship, and the search for identity.

Major Similarities: 

Although “Wonderstruck” employs a unique narrative structure compared to “Wonder,” both books delve into themes of belonging, the impact of personal journeys on self-discovery, and the connections between people. 

They highlight the importance of empathy and understanding across differing experiences, encouraging readers to see the beauty in life’s mysteries and the ways in which we are all connected.

10. “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate

“The One and Only Ivan” is a heartwarming tale of Ivan, a gorilla who lives in a shopping mall, told from Ivan’s perspective. Ivan’s mundane existence changes when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild. 

Through Ruby, Ivan sees his home through new eyes and embarks on a journey to give her a better life. This story is about friendship, change, and the power of hope.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Wonder,” this book focuses on themes of empathy, the importance of seeing beyond one’s immediate surroundings, and the impact of friendship and kindness. 

Both stories encourage readers to think about the feelings of others and to act with compassion, underscoring the belief that everyone deserves respect and understanding, regardless of their differences.

11. “Rules” by Cynthia Lord

“Rules” is the story of twelve-year-old Catherine, who just wants a normal life, which seems impossible with a brother who has autism and a family that revolves around his disability. 

She creates a list of rules to help her brother David navigate the world, but her quest for normalcy is challenged when she befriends Jason, a boy who communicates through a book of words due to his own disabilities. 

Catherine’s journey is one of self-discovery, as she learns the importance of acceptance and understanding.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Wonder,” “Rules” addresses themes of family, friendship, and the struggles of living with a disability, whether directly or as a sibling. 

Both novels explore the dynamics of relationships shaped by special needs and the journey towards embracing differences rather than seeking to hide them. 

They promote empathy and the idea that true friendship transcends physical and societal boundaries.

12. “One for the Murphys” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

“One for the Murphys” tells the story of Carley Connors, who finds herself in foster care after a tragic incident, living with the Murphys, a family unlike her own. 

At first resistant to their love and care, Carley gradually opens up and begins to feel like she belongs. 

However, she struggles with the fear of getting too comfortable, knowing her stay might be temporary. This novel is a touching exploration of identity, belonging, and the meaning of family.

Major Similarities: 

This book, much like “Wonder,” delves into the themes of acceptance, resilience, and the transformative power of kindness and love. 

Both stories highlight the journey of protagonists who face significant personal challenges and find strength in new friendships and supportive communities, emphasizing the impact of empathy and understanding in changing lives.

13. “Save Me a Seat” by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

“Save Me a Seat” follows the lives of Joe and Ravi, two boys who seem to have nothing in common. Joe is an American who struggles with auditory processing disorder and bullying, while Ravi is a recent immigrant from India who feels out of place in his new American school. 

Their paths intersect in ways they never expected, teaching them about friendship and the importance of looking beyond first impressions.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Wonder,” “Save Me a Seat” explores themes of friendship, bullying, and overcoming cultural and personal differences. 

Both books encourage readers to understand and appreciate the diversity of experiences around them, promoting a message of inclusion and the value of standing up for oneself and others.

14. “Absolutely Almost” by Lisa Graff

“Absolutely Almost” centers on Albie, a boy who has always been just almost good enough at everything. He struggles at school, isn’t the best at games, and often feels like he doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. 

However, as Albie navigates the challenges of New York City, his new nanny Calista helps him see that he doesn’t have to be perfect to be great. This story is a heartwarming look at the pressures children face and the importance of celebrating individual strengths.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Wonder,” “Absolutely Almost” touches on themes of self-acceptance, the value of friendship, and understanding one’s worth beyond academic achievements or social expectations. 

Both books are a reminder that everyone has their own unique talents and that kindness and perseverance matter more than fitting into a conventional mold of success.

15. “Rain Reign” by Ann M. Martin

“Rain Reign” is the story of Rose Howard, a girl with Asperger’s syndrome, who has an obsession with homonyms, rules, and her dog Rain. When Rain goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to leave her comfort zone to find her beloved pet. 

This journey not only tests her limits but also leads to a deeper understanding of her relationships and her capacity to cope with change. The novel is a sensitive portrayal of the challenges faced by someone with autism and the strength found in facing one’s fears.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Rain Reign” and “Wonder” offer insights into the minds of young protagonists dealing with significant personal challenges, fostering empathy and understanding in the reader. 

These stories emphasize the importance of acceptance, the strength of the human spirit, and the value of seeing the world from different perspectives, encouraging readers to embrace diversity and the unique qualities of every individual.

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