|“||It's not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.||”|
— Charlotte Cody, Wonder
Charlotte Cody is a character in Wonder, as well as the main character in Shingaling: A Wonder Story. Charlotte is a student at Beecher Prep and one of August's welcoming buddies when he visits the school. Over time, she becomes close friends with Summer and Ximena, due to the dance performance that they are all part of. Charlotte loved the dance, she thought it was so great!
Charlotte is very talented, intelligent, obedient, and pretty calm. Many people claim that she's a dramatic show-off, but she really is not. Charlotte was originally a rather neutral person. She didn't like Julian's side, but she didn't care for Jack's side either. She was more of a bystander that didn't understand much about true friendship and kindness until she spent more time with Summer Dawson and Ximena Chin.
Charlotte has attended Beecher Prep since kindergarten. On her very first day, she walked with her older sister, Beatrix and they meet a blind man named Gordy Johnson. He is seen playing with an accordion with his black labrador dog. Beatrix gives the man a dollar as Gordy says, "God bless America!". As the years went by Charlotte would always see Gordy and his dog and would give him a dollar, while Gordy said his same quote. However, in 5th grade, Charlotte does not see Gordy.
In first grade, Charlotte's teacher has her sit with Ellie. Both were very shy and didn't say anything until Charlotte pretended to figure skate with her fingers. Ellie joined in and the two would eventually become best friends. Throughout lower school Charlotte and Ellie would become close friends with Maya, Summer, and Savanna. They would have playdates and tea parties. However when middle school started, everything starts to change.
At the beginning of her 5th grade year, Mr. Tushman asked Charlotte, along with Jack and Julian to be one of August's welcoming buddies. She accepted and showed Auggie around the school when he came to visit.
During the year Charlotte would usually say hello to August in the halls. She never called Auggie a "zombie boy" or a "freak", as Julian would, but she wouldn't really spend time with Auggie unlike Jack and Summer. It is not because Charlotte fears August's appearance but because they have nothing in common and it was all Mr. Tushman's idea. This is told from Charlotte to Ximena after winter break.
Charlotte tries out to be in the dance recital. Along with Summer and Ximena, she is chosen by their instructor, Mrs. Atanabi, to be part of it. Savanna and Ellie also try out, but did not get accepted. Savanna gets jealous and angry at Charlotte only because Charlotte appeared in TV commercials and tries too hard to be the "teacher's pet".
After being accepted for the dance recital, Charlotte begins a case to investigate and search for Gordy Johnson. Summer and Ximena support her later on. They all find out that Gordy Johnson was a famous musician who used to work for Summer's father and Mrs. Atanabi.
Ximena originally planned to go water skiing with Savanna, Ellie, and Gretchen, but then changes into hosting a sleepover for Charlotte and Summer. Both are excited and accept her request. Charlotte and Summer are happy to meet Ximena's mother and her brother, Eduarito. Later that night the three girls play a truth or dare game. On one truth, Charlotte wants her superpower to be flight, so that she could explore Ximena's birth location, Madrid, Spain. On another truth, Charlotte claims that she wants to go out with Jack. They later have a pillow fight and sing the Shingaling and fall asleep.
Close before the recital, Charlotte, Maya, and Lina were walking from school to get some ice cream at Carvel. Maya shows Charlotte a letter on how she wants to convince Savanna and Ellie to stop befriending Ximena after she had turn them into "pretty zombies". Charlotte convinces her not to deliver the note in front of everyone, but Maya doesn't listen. Charlotte comes over to see Ximena. It was revealed that Ximena did not know anyone who was nice to her, until she met Savanna. Charlotte and Summer comfort her by letting her know that they had been great friends too. Ximena eventually feels better.
After days of practicing, all the girls were well prepared for the 60s dance recital, which would be displayed at the Beecher Prep Gala. The girls did well at the dance without missing a step or note. They later meet Auggie's parents, Nate and Isabel.
After the dance recital, Charlotte comes to Mr. Tushman's office and sees the Henry Ward Beecher medal for Auggie. She originally assumed that it would be delivered for Summer only because she was a better friend to August than her. Later at the graduation ceremony, she congratulates August for his award and to Ximena for presenting a very formal speech.
On summer break, Charlotte is surprised to see Gordy Johnson after almost a year. It was revealed that he was visiting relatives out of town. Charlotte and Gordy have a nice conversation and she gives her a dollar as a welcome-back-present.
On sixth grade Charlotte, along with Ximena, Maya, Miles, Henry, and Amos become a part of the Summer table with Summer, August, and Jack.
R.J. Palacio on Charlotte
"I think a lot of kids can relate to Charlotte. She’s nice enough, but she never really goes out of her way to be kind to Auggie. She’ll wave hello from a distance, but she never sits down with him. She helps Jack behind the scenes, but she never openly sides with him. She’s a good girl, but she’s not quite brave enough to act on her good instincts. That kind of bravery sometimes doesn’t come until you’re older, and sometimes doesn’t come at all. She represents the difference between simply being nice, and choosing to be kind, which is a main theme of the book. She’s the classic bystander, though I think by the end of the book she’s become aware of this. Her precept shows this. I think in the sixth grade, she’ll be an upstander, not a bystander."