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Fish in a Tree (2015)

by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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2,6001545,709 (4.3)23
Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. HTML:The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives listeners an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.
 
“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
 
Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.
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» See also 23 mentions

English (151)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (154)
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Independent Reading Level: Grades 5-8
Awards: Schneider Family Book Award
SCWBI Crystal Kite Winner
ALSC Notable Book of 2016
SLJ Best Book 2015
Global Read Aloud Choice 2015
  SEldridge | Apr 30, 2024 |
This book shows the difficulty that reading can have with certain students and how teachers can inspire students to be successful. I think that the book is encouraging and inspiring to young students over how their struggles don't limit their ability for success in learning. This book could be used for a read-aloud, and a lesson, depending on the topic at hand. ( )
  madelinefames | Apr 3, 2024 |
Ally Nickerson has been in 7 schools during the last 7 years. She has learned many survival skills to cover up the fact that she can not read or write like her peers. Her current teacher (who Ally is sure does not like her at all) goes on maternity leave and the substitute teacher gets to know Ally. He is able to find those things that Ally is really good at (math!) Ally also fiends a group of friends, who are often referred to as the misfits, but they form a solid friend group.
  KimAMoore | Jul 16, 2023 |
Hunt draws a portrait of dyslexia and getting along.

Ally Nickerson, who’s passed through seven schools in seven years, maintains a Sketchbook of Impossible Things. A snowman in a furnace factory is more plausible than imagining herself doing something right—like reading. She doesn't know why, but letters dance and give her headaches. Her acting out to disguise her difficulty causes headaches for her teachers, who, oddly, never consider dyslexia, even though each notices signs like inconsistent spellings of the same word. Ally's confusion is poignant when misunderstandings like an unintentional sympathy card for a pregnant teacher make her good intentions backfire, and readers will sympathize as she copes with the class "mean girls." When a creative new teacher, Mr. Daniels, steps in, the plot turns more uplifting but also metaphor-heavy; a coin with a valuable flaw, cupcakes with hidden letters, mystery boxes and references to the Island of Misfit Toys somewhat belabor the messages that things aren't always what they seem and everyone is smart in their own ways. Despite emphasis on "thinking outside the box," characters are occasionally stereotypical—a snob, a brainiac, an unorthodox teacher—but Ally's new friendships are satisfying, as are the recognition of her dyslexia and her renewed determination to read.

Fans of R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012) will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts. (Fiction. 10-12)

-Kirkus Review
  CDJLibrary | Jun 10, 2023 |
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For teachers...who see the child before the student, who remind us that we all have special gifts to offer the world, who foster the importance of standing out rather than fitting in.  And for the kids...who find their grit to conquer life's challenges--no matter what those challenges may be.  You are heroes.  This book is for you.
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Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. HTML:The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives listeners an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in.
 
“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
 
Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

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