Vermont Reads

Toshi Widoff-Woodson

It's been called a memoir in verse, a collection of vignettes about time, place, family and race. The book Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson defies convention and can be read in any number of ways, as it will be for this year's Vermont Reads, a statewide reading project presented by the Vermont Humanities Council. 

Angela Evancie / VPR

The author of numerous works of fiction and essays, Salman Rushdie won the Booker Prize in 1981 for his novel Midnight's Children, and later that decade, became something of a story himself when his novel The Satanic Verses drew outrage from some Muslims around the world, and a call for his assassination issued in a Fatwa by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini.

So it is also accurate to say that Rushdie knows a thing or two about the power of stories.


This week we’ve been exploring themes from the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The novel is this year’s pick for the Vermont Humanities Council’s state-wide reading program, Vermont Reads.

In the book, the protagonist August Pullman is facing the daunting prospect of starting fifth grade after being homeschooled. But his challenges are amplified, because he looks very different from everyone else.

Excerpt: If It's Okay For Me To Ask

Mikael Damkier / Thinkstock

Some students look back on their middle school years fondly. But for others, it’s a time they’d rather forget.

Author R.J. Palacio explores the emotional ups and downs of August Pullman’s first year of middle school in her book, Wonder. The novel is the Vermont Humanities Council’s pick for Vermont Reads this year.

Excerpt: The Plague

In this passage from Wonder, Auggie's friend Summer describes some of the bullying Auggie had to put up with at school:

Michael Martin

By now you’ve probably at least heard of the book, Wonder by RJ Palacio. It tells the story of Auggie, a boy with facial deformities due to a rare genetic disorder, who loves his dog, Star Wars, and Xbox, just like most kids his age. But his appearance makes him the target of bullying, even as he makes new friends and tries to fit in at school.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Middle school is a time when kids become teenagers, and unfortunately this doesn’t happen at the same time for everyone.

The first year of middle school is the subject of the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and it’s this year’s choice for the Vermont Reads community literature program. The book follows Auggie Pullman, a 10 year old born with genetic conditions that have left him looking very different from his peers.

Lamb to the slaughter

Random House

Each year, VPR partners with the Vermont Humanities Council to present Vermont Reads, a state-wide community reading program.

This year’s selection is Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. The book follows fifth-grader August Pullman as he enters middle school after previously being homeschooled by his Mom. Auggie, as his family calls him, was born with a genetic disorder that has left him with severe facial deformities.


Tue 5/7/13 Noon & 7pm Look back through your middle school journals and you'll probably find some poems scrawled in the margins. When did you stop writing and reading poetry? Is writing poetry a different skill from reading poetry? Post your questions or comments about poetry here or email them to