Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Ally is a sixth grader in Mrs. Hall’s class. She has been in seven different schools in seven years, and her dad just got deployed with the army. She and her older brother Travis struggle in school, and even after years of trying, Ally just can’t seem to read. Her classmates make fun of her endlessly for it. When Mrs. Hall goes on maternity leave, Mr. Daniels takes her place. Ally is expecting him to be like all of her other teachers, who have low expectations, are endlessly frustrated, and are impatient with her. But Mr. Daniels surprises Ally, and when he works his magic, Ally is left with an excitement for learning and even a few friends. Ally finds that there’s way more to her than the names people call her. She learns to trust her new teacher and with him, changes the impossible to possible.
This book is chalked full of life lessons that are taught in a way that will tug at your heartstrings. Fish in a Tree will be enjoyed by students in older grades, as well as by their teachers. The creative similes on almost every page will leave each reader smiling. The chapter titles will leave you on the edge of your seat, reading page after page, until you've read the whole thing in one sitting! Grief from her grandfather’s recent passing and missing her father who is far away serving in the military are important topics that may hit close to home for many readers. After reading this book, you will remember that words are powerful and a teacher who cares can change the world for one student.