Monday, February 29, 2016

Fish in a Tree

Hunt, Lynda Mullaly.  Fish in a Tree.  NY: Nancy Paulsen Books, c2015.  266 pages.

Written in the same gentle and loving way as One For the Murphys, Fish in a Tree is about a 6th grade girl who has kept her dyslexia a secret, one that plagues her and causes her to hate and fear school.  With a father in the military and a brother who finds his dreams thwarted by dyslexia as well, Ally has a lot to deal with.  When she earns the respect and friendship of Keisha and Albert, and gets Mr. Daniels for a teacher, things begin to look up.    There is plenty of bullying, both verbal and physical.  You will cringe, especially if you have ever been guilty of saying something hurtful just to impress the "in crowd."

Ally is a great character and though some readers will be put off because she is only a 6th grader, I’m pretty sure they will recognize the traumatic things that occur at school a lot more frequently than we’d like to admit, even by teachers who miss important clues in behavior.  Celebrate differences.  A quote in the book inspired the title: "... if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid."

Recommended for middle school and above.  Review by Mrs. Belknap

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