Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fish in a Tree - Fantasticos

I just read Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. This book is for every kid whose talents lie somewhere outside the stereotypical school room... and isn't that most of us?  It's also for every teacher who dreams of inspiring young people.
"It's a good thing to be an out-of-the-box thinker. People like that are world-changers"

Everybody is a genius. Your passion in art or science or baking or compassion or mechanics or engineering or whatever... that's where your intelligence lies; not in a classroom test, not in a worksheet.

Ally is in sixth grade and struggles with reading. You will love her grit, her friends, and her new teacher Mr. Daniels.

Here are a few of my favorite parts:

on not fitting in...
"I wish she could understand my world. But it would be like trying to explain to a whale what it's like to live in a forest."
on labels...
"And then I think that if someone hung a sign on me that said anything, having that sign there wouldn't make it so. But people have been calling me "slow" forever. Right in front of me as if I'm too dumb to know what they're talking about.
People act like the words "slow reader" tell them everything that's inside. Like I'm a can of soup and they can just read the list of ingredients and know everything about me. There's lots of stuff about the soup inside that they can't put on the label, like how it smells and tastes and makes you feel warm when you eat it. There's got to be more to me than just a kid who can't read well."
on the power of words... 
"And I think of words. The power that they have. How they can be waved around like a wand - sometimes for good, like how Mr. Daniels uses them. How he makes kids like me and Oliver feel better about ourselves. And how words can also be used for bad. To hurt."
on empathy... 
"And looking around the room, I remember thinking that my reading differences were like dragging a concrete block around every day, and how I felt sorry for myself. Now I realize that everyone has their own blocks to drag around. And they all feel heavy." 

One of my favorite pages in the book, oddly enough, was before the book began, in the dedication:

My other favorite page was at the end, in the Letter to the Reader...

Be a world-changer. Get this book for the kids you know. Get this book for the teachers you know. Get this book for anyone who is ready to set the world on fire.


  1. Thank you so much! I love this review that you've written about Fish in a Tree. I think the way you've organized this post is clever. I am grateful that you read the book and even more grateful that you took the time to write such a thoughtful review. Fantastico!

    1. You are an amazing writer. Thank you for using your powers for good! :)