Wonder by R.J. Palacio
I started reading Wonder to a class of fifth graders. This is a new book about a boy who has a facial deformity. Auggie had always been home-schooled and protected from children who would hurt him. Fifth grade would be the first time he would experience school. So much of the story is Auggie's painful and heart-warming internal story, knowing that he would be stared at and alienated. All of the fifth graders loved this book and could relate to the "bullying," either because they were subject to bullying themselves, or bullied others at one time in their lives. Many students asked their parents to buy them the book so they could read with me, or read ahead. I believe in good programs, but when children relate to an age-appropriate, compelling story, they authentically work out their own issues.