17 Books for Kids to Read If They Love Wonder

With the Wonder movie release just around the corner, we’re catching up on our favorite reads that promote inclusivity and kindness. Here are 11 book recommendations for readers 8+ that fill us with wonder, promote empathy and individuality, and inspire us to think more thoughtfully about the world around us!

1. The One and Only Ivan

This Newbery Medal winner by bestselling author Katherine Applegate tells the story of Ivan, a gorilla who lives in captivity for 27 years. Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him, and hardly ever thinks of his life in the jungle until Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, arrives and makes him see their situation through new eyes.

2. The Someday Suitcase

Clover and Danny are the kind of best friends who make each other even better, so when Danny gets sick with a mysterious illness that won’t go away, Clover decides to take matters into her own hands by making lists — lists of Danny’s symptoms, his good days, his bad days, etc. Soon, it becomes clear that Danny is only better when Clover is around, but can their friendship overcome the unthinkable?

3. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

From the day Stargirl arrives at quiet Mica High, she captures the attention of Leo Borlock. But when the school starts to turn on her for being different, Leo urges her to become the one thing that could destroy her: normal.

4. Alan Cole is Not a Coward

When Alan Cole’s brother, Nathan, threatens to out him to the entire school, he must compete in a high-stakes round of Cole vs. Cole. Each brother much complete seven nearly impossible tasks, and whoever finishes first wins the game. Now, unless Alan wants his secret to be revealed, he must prove to Nathan, the world, and himself, that he is not a coward.

5. Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth

When his ailing grandfather can no longer care for him, Prez is sent to the country to live with a foster family where he meets Sputnik — a kid who is more than a little strange. Sputnik is an alien with a mission that requires Prez’s help. The Earth has been marked for destruction and they must come up with ten reasons why the planet should be saved.

6. Pax

This New York Times bestseller (and recipient of four starred reviews!) by Sara Pennypacker has become an instant classic in hearts of countless readers for a reason –the heartwarming story of a boy and his pet fox who are separated by war and will do anything to get back to one another.

7. Hello, Universe

Four misfits are brought together when a bully plays a mean prank on Virgil and traps him and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. Now, Kaori, Gen, and Valencia are lead on a quest to find and rescue him and put the bully in his place. This book is special because it’s not only from the perspective of the four heroes, but the reader also enters the mind of the bully for a unique story of alternating perspectives and ultimate self-discovery.

8. Moo

When Reena and her brother first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She certainly doesn’t expect her eccentric neighbor Mrs. Falala or the strange cast of animals she calls family or that her parents will “volunteer” her to work on Mrs. Falala’s farm. In a blend of poetry and prose, Reena and her brother adjust to their new home and learn how a little kindness can change a person’s life.

9. Superstar

When Lester’s mom goes back to work after his father, an astronaut, dies, home-schooled Lester must transition to a public school for the first time. As he acclimates to a new routine full of rules he doesn’t always understand, Lester focuses on one exciting thing — winning the school science fair and beating the bully at his own game!

10. Orphan Island

Nine orphans live on an island by a particular set of rules. The island provides everything they need, but when the boat comes baring a new child, the oldest of island must board the boat and leave forever. When it comes time for Jinny to leave, she refuses and the island is thrown into chaos. Now, righting things may mean leaving the only home she’s ever known.

11. Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms — an obsession that not everyone, not her teachers, the other kids, or her single father understands. She gave her dog a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which she believes to be extra special. But when Rain goes missing during a storm, Rose will do anything to find her, even if it means leaving her routine and safe places to search.

12. Inside Out and Back Again

Inspired by the author’s own childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam and immigrating to Alabama, this book tells the story of Hà whose family escapes Vietnam during the war to live in America where Hà must adapt to a new culture and a new life that is so much different than the one she left behind.

13. Bridge to Terabithia

Jess and Leslie become fast friends who spend most of their afternoons in the woods behind Leslie’s house. Together, they’ve invented an enchanted land called Terabithia where they can be whoever they want to be. But when tragedy strikes, it takes love and the strength of friendship in order to deal with the grief.

14. Charlotte’s Web

This classic about a loveable pig named Wulber who just wants a friend, and the spider who sets out to save his life has been inspiring kids for generations. Their tender friendship teaches about love, life, and loss and is a perfect read to teach kids about empathy.

15. Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

When their favorite teacher announces she has cancer and will be unable to finish out the school year, three friends set out to give her the perfect last day. But when things don’t go exactly as planned, each of the three boys begins to explore what Ms. Bixby meant to them and why it’s so important to give her the last day she deserves.

16. Walk Two Moons

When Sal’s grandparents as her for a story, she weaves them a tale of love and loss through the adventures of Phoebe Winterbottom. But as the story unfolds, Sal’s own desires to be reunited with her missing mother come to light in this story brimming with heart and emotion.

17. The Poet’s Dog

Told through prose, this is the story of a gifted canine, Teddy, who rescues two kids trapped in a snowstorm and brings them home to wait out the bad weather. As they wait, Teddy recounts them with memories of the friend he already lost as together the children and dog try to heal one another.


What will you read first?