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Books on the Blog: Fish in a Tree

Every first Monday, join us on the PAWLP Blog for a digital “book talk.” Today, we have PAWLP Fellow Sarah Burkholder with us to review Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s Fish in a Tree.


Review by Sarah Burkholder

“Everyone is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking that it’s stupid.”

Ally Nickerson has lived by one rule throughout her school years: Lie low – when called upon, always respond, “I don’t know.” Now in sixth grade, Ally’s inability to read perpetuates her perception of herself as “slow” and “dumb.” Ally has always had trouble learning and is consistently the target of peer criticism. Acting disruptive is the only way she has been able to cope with these challenges. However, her newest teacher, Mr. Daniels, realizes Ally’s potential and encourages her to embrace her learning differences. With the help of Mr. Daniels and two close friends, Ally recognizes that everyone has their own special talents and abilities, and with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible. In doing so, Ally’s peers begin to appreciate her creativity, imagination, and resiliency. The impact that Mr. Daniels has on Ally’s life is heart-warming and inspiring to read. Read more