When Esperanza and her family arrive in the United States…
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers 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. – Amazon
Why I Chose This Book
- March Book Madness 2017
- Notice and Note Facebook group recommendation
- Mark Twain Nominee 2017-2018
- New York Times Bestseller
Five stars! I gave this book five stars because of how the plot kept moving me along and the great message. I wanted to keep reading to see Ally and her friends’ journeys of self-discovery. There were some stereotypical characters and incidents, but it did not distract or take away from the overall message of the book.
What I Learned As a Teacher
From the dedication
Each of us in the classroom (and the world) have a special gift. I need to help my students recognize their gift, encourage them in their strength, and help my students grow their special gifts. I also need to challenge my students and celebrate their successes through compliments, smiles, and high-fives.
Let my students know that I like how different we all are.
Most teachers seem to like their students to be all the same-perfect and quiet. Mr. Daniels actually seems to like that we’re different.
The Power of a High-Five
He comes over and does something a teacher has never done even once in my whole life. He high-fives me.
Middle School Struggles
“People ask what you want to be when you grow up. I know what kind of grown-up I want to be. But I don’t know who I am now…there are always people ready to tell you who you are, like a nerd or a jerk or a wimp.” I think how it’s hard not to believe the bad stuff.
Uniqueness in Our Strengths and Weaknesses
And looking around the room, I remember thinking that my reading differences were like dragging a concrete block around everyday, and how I felt sorry for myself. Now, I realize that everyone has their own blocks to drag around. And they all feel heavy.
We all have both our special talents and areas where we need to work a bit harder.
Failure is an Option
It isn’t failing that makes you a failure. It’s staying down that does. The ability to stand up, brush yourself off, and try again is a huge strength.
I learned so much from this book. I think my students would enjoy it, but I think the real value is for the teachers out there. It inspired me and reminded me of why I teach.