The Julian Chapter

(Wonder: Bk. 2). 3 CDs. 2:36 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2014. $29.97. ISBN 9781491524077.
Gr 3–6—Palacio revisits Julian, the most disliked character from her debut novel, Wonder (Knopf, 2012). When Auggie Pullman first entered Beecher Prep, Julian was one of the students chosen to help him navigate the new school. Instead, Julian went out of his way to make life miserable for Auggie. But why? Was he just a bully or was there something else going on? And did he ever feel bad about his actions? Although it starts off predictably enough, Julian's story is full of surprises that emphasize the overall theme of compassion, not only for the victim, but also for the bully. Children will learn an important lesson about walking in another's footsteps when they discover what really motivates Julian's actions. Listeners may want to reread Wonder to refresh their memories. The narration by Michael Chamberlain is exceptional in capturing the whiny angst and defiance of a preteen child, while also managing to inject convincing notes of sincerity where appropriate. Schools who already have the first book will definitely want to add this follow-up to their collections, as it and Wonder are excellent character education resources for students and teachers.—Michaela Schied, Indian River Middle School, Philadelphia, NY

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