Fish in a Tree (Paperback)
Ally has made it to sixth grade without being able to read. It’s not that she doesn’t try, but the letters just don’t seem to make sense in her brain. Her new substitute teacher notices her struggling and begins to work with her one-on-one. After being diagnosed with dyslexia, Ally learns that it’s okay and she can still be her usual creative self. Great story for anyone who feels different or academically behind.
(Suggested Ages: 8-12)— From Middle Grade - Neurodivergence
"Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts.” —Kirkus Reviews
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.
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. This paperback edition includes The Sketchbook of Impossible Things and discussion questions.
A New York Times Bestseller!
* “Unforgettable and uplifting.”—School Library Connection, starred review
* "Offering hope to those who struggle academically and demonstrating that a disability does not equal stupidity, this is as unique as its heroine.”—Booklist, starred review
* “Mullaly Hunt again paints a nuanced portrayal of a sensitive, smart girl struggling with circumstances beyond her control." —School Library Journal, starred review
About the Author
Lynda Mullaly Hunt (www.lyndamullalyhunt.com) has received many honors for her debut novel, One for the Murphys, which is on over twenty state award lists, including Bank Street’s 2013 Best Books of the Year. She’s a former teacher, and holds writers retreats for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, impetuous beagle, and beagle-loathing cat.
* “Unforgettable and uplifting. . . . Deals with the hardships of middle school in a funny, yet realistic and thoughtful manner. Ally has a great voice, she is an unforgettable, plucky protagonist that the reader roots for from page one. This novel is a must-have.”—School Library Connection, starred review
* “Filled with a delightful range of quirky characters and told with heart, the story also explores themes of family, friendship, and courage in its many forms. . . . It has something to offer for a wide-ranging audience. . . . Offering hope to those who struggle academically and demonstrating that a disability does not equal stupidity, this is as unique as its heroine.”—Booklist, starred review
* “Mullaly Hunt again paints a nuanced portrayal of a sensitive, smart girl struggling with circumstances beyond her control. . . . Ally’s raw pain and depression are vividly rendered, while the diverse supporting cast feels fully developed. . . . Mr. Daniels is an inspirational educator whose warmth radiates off the page. Best of all, Mullaly Hunt eschews the unrealistic feel-good ending for one with hard work and small changes. Ally’s journey is heartwarming but refreshingly devoid of schmaltz.”—School Library Journal, starred review
“[Hunt’s] depiction of Ally’s learning struggles is relatable, and Ally’s growth and relationships feel organic and real.”—Publishers Weekly
“Poignant. . . . Emphasis on ‘thinking outside the box’ . . . 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 will appreciate this feel-good story of friendship and unconventional smarts.”
“Reminiscent of Polacco’s wonderful Thank You, Mr. Falker. . . . Ally’s feeling of loneliness and desire to fit in will resonate with young teen readers, as many share those feelings without the difficulty of dyslexia. . . . A tribute to teachers who go the extra mile to reach every student. . . . A touching story with an important message.”—Voice of Youth Advocates
“Entertaining dialogue . . . Ally’s descriptions of her ‘mind movies’ are creative and witty. . . . The treatment of a group of sixth-graders with various quirks who face down their bullies extends the book’s interest beyond the immediate focus on dyslexia.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Readers will . . . cheer for this likable girl.”
—The Horn Book