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20 Heartwarming Books Like “Wonder” For Every Reader

Find Your Next Inspiring Read With These Books Similar to "Wonder"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 4 2024

20 Heartwarming Reads Similar to 'Wonder' - Find Inspiration

“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio is a heart-touching story that delves into themes of kindness, acceptance, and the challenges of being different. It follows August Pullman, a boy with a facial difference, as he navigates the complexities of mainstream school for the first time.

This beloved book has not only captivated readers of all ages but also sparked important conversations about empathy and the beauty of being unique. If “Wonder” left you searching for books with similar impactful messages and compelling narratives, you’re in luck!

Below is a curated list of 20 books that share the spirit of “Wonder,” ranging from tales of extraordinary friendships to inspiring journeys of self-discovery.

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio


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

Ally has always hidden her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.

  • Themes of overcoming challenges and embracing differences.
  • The importance of a supportive community.
  • Recognizing one’s unique strengths and talents.


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

Eleven-year-old Melody, unable to speak or walk due to cerebral palsy, fights to express her intelligence.

  • A powerful narrative voice that demands to be heard.
  • The struggle for acceptance and understanding.
  • Insights into living with disabilities.


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

After suddenly losing her adoptive parents, genius and outsider Willow Chance finds a peculiar but heartwarming new family.
  • Coping with loss through the formation of unconventional friendships.
  • The resilience of a determined, unique protagonist.
  • Themes of community and belonging.


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

Ivan, a captive gorilla, sees his world through the bars of a cage until a baby elephant inspires him to change their fate.

  • Told from a unique perspective with profound introspection.
  • Themes of friendship, freedom, and the power of hope.
  • A blend of humor and poignancy in facing life’s challenges.


5. “Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine

Caitlin, who has Asperger’s, seeks to understand the world and herself after her brother’s tragic death.

  • Exploring various aspects of grief and healing.
  • The journey towards empathy and understanding.
  • The strength found in differences.


6. “Rules” by Cynthia Lord

Catherine, seeking a normal life, has her perspective expanded by new friendships that challenge her understanding of “normal.”

  • The dynamics of sibling relationships and disabilities.
  • Valuable lessons in acceptance and the broad spectrum of “normal.”
  • A heartfelt depiction of familial and platonic relationships.


7. “The Thing About Jellyfish” by Ali Benjamin

After the death of her best friend, Suzy is convinced that a rare jellyfish is to blame and sets out on a journey for closure.

  • A deep dive into grief, curiosity, and the scientific method as coping mechanisms.
  • The evolution of friendships and coming-of-age.
  • Thought-provoking insights into the natural world.


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

This collection expands on characters from “Wonder,” providing new perspectives on Auggie’s world.

  • Different viewpoints enriching the original story.
  • Explorations of kindness, courage, and friendship.
  • The impact of one person’s story on a community.


9. Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick”

Two children from different eras are drawn to New York City, their stories intertwining in a beautiful, illustrated narrative.

  • Dual narratives that capture imagination and curiosity.
  • Themes of family, identity, and the interconnectivity of lives.
  • Unique storytelling combining visuals and text.


10. “El Deafo” by Cece Bell

In this graphic novel memoir, Cece uses her hearing aid, the Phonic Ear, to forge friendships and claim her identity.

  • Accessibility and acceptance in the context of disability.
  • The power of self-acceptance and embracing one’s differences.
  • Friendship dynamics explored through a unique lens.


11. “Pax” by Sara Pennypacker

Peter and his pet fox, Pax, are separated by war, leading both on an adventurous journey to find each other.

  • The enduring bond between human and animal.
  • Themes of war, peace, and the journey back to each other.
  • Resilience and the impact of separation.


12. “The War that Saved My Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada, born with a clubfoot and shamed by her mother, discovers a new world of possibilities when evacuated during WWII.

  • Overcoming physical and emotional hardships.
  • The discovery of self-worth and courage.
  • A moving tale of liberation and finding home.


13. “Rain Reign” by Ann M. Martin

Rose, a girl with Asperger’s, navigates the challenges of school and family life while obsessed with homonyms.

  • The depth of characterizations, particularly regarding neurodiversity.
  • A dog’s impact on personal growth and coping.
  • Complex familial relationships and personal resilience.


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

Told from the perspective of seven students, their lives are transformed by a new and enigmatic teacher.

  • Impactful adult role models in children’s education and life.
  • Diverse viewpoints showcasing personal growth.
  • The transformative power of understanding and forgiveness.


15. “Inside Out and Back Again” by Thanhha Lai

Inspired by the author’s refugee experience, this novel in verse portrays Ha’s immigration journey from Vietnam to Alabama.

  • The immigrant experience detailed with emotional honesty.
  • Themes of cultural clash, bullying, and the struggle for acceptance.
  • A poignant depiction of resilience and adaptation.


16. “Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer” by Kelly Jones

Sophie discovers her new home comes with a unique responsibility: caring for a flock of magical chickens.

  • Blending humor with themes of loss and adaptation.
  • The uniqueness in embracing one’s heritage and responsibilities.
  • Growth through acceptance and learning.


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

Joe and Ravi, from seemingly different worlds, confront a common enemy and form an unlikely friendship.

  • The tackle of bullying and cultural misunderstandings.
  • The development of companionship amidst diversity.
  • Insights into navigating school dynamics and friendship.


18. “Lily and Dunkin” by Donna Gephart

Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, struggling with bipolar disorder, navigate the tumultuous waters of middle school and friendship.

  • Deep explorations of identity and mental health.
  • The courage found in friendship and honesty.
  • A heartfelt story about acceptance and belonging.


19. “The Wonderling” by Mira Bartók

A one-eared foxlike creature embarks on an epic journey of self-discovery and destiny in a whimsically cruel world.

  • A quest for identity and meaning.
  • The creation of hope and friendship in adversity.
  • A richly imagined world filled with lessons and adventures.


20. “George” by Alex Gino

George, who knows she’s a girl despite being perceived as a boy, seeks acceptance and the chance to be herself.

  • Challenges and triumphs of coming out as transgender.
  • The importance of representation and being seen.
  • A gentle yet powerful story of truth and acceptance.

In conclusion, these books like “Wonder” offer more than just engaging stories; they provide windows into the experiences of others, encourage empathy, and celebrate the diversity of the human condition. From tales of courage and friendship to journeys of self-discovery and acceptance, there’s a book here for everyone looking to capture a bit of the magic that “Wonder” has brought into the world.

So, pick up one of these heartwarming reads, and let the journey of empathy and understanding continue. Happy reading!


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