VPR Examines Life In Middle School Through Vermont Reads Series

Transitioning into middle school is not always easy, but what’s it like when you don’t look like everyone else? Vermont Public Radio is exploring the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio this week during Morning Edition.

The project is in collaboration with the Vermont Humanities Council’s state-wide reading program, Vermont Reads. The book follows fifth-grader August Pullman as he enters middle school after previously being homeschooled by his mother. Auggie, as his family calls him, was born with a genetic disorder that has left him with severe facial deformities. Wonder was also featured in VPR's Dorothy's List series and won this year's Dorothy Canfield Fisher award.

Throughout the week, Morning Edition Host Mitch Wertlieb and VPR News reporters will explore the major themes of Wonder, including how middle school-aged children learn, bullying, and talking about being different.

Listeners will hear from R.J. Palacio on why she wrote this story, and what she hopes readers – both kids and adults - can take away from the book.

“We are thrilled to continue our long-time partnership with the Vermont Humanities Council and Vermont Reads," said Melody Bodette, deputy news director and one of the series’ producers. "The challenges of middle school are universal, and Wonder provides a special opportunity for Vermonters to come together and explore them.”

VPR has also partnered with the Young Writer's Project, who asked middle school students to write their own radio commentaries on middle school or Wonder. Two student commentaries will air this week as part of the series.

Many towns across the state are hosting events based around the book. Listeners can follow the series at