This book was chosen for the Global Read Aloud project for the fall of 2015. I read this book in anticipation for the Global Read Aloud, as this is one of my favorite activities to do with my students each year. In the past we have read The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. I am so excited to share Fish in a Tree with next year's students!
The title, Fish in a Tree comes from the saying that "everyone is smart in their own way, but judging a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will live it's life believing that it is stupid." In this book, Ally is the fish. Ally has been able to "fake it" in school all the way up to the sixth grade. She gets in trouble a lot, but it isn't until a substitute teacher comes to take over her class that it is determined why she's spending so much time in the office and outside of the classroom.
This book resonated with me so much as a teacher. Passionate, kind, caring, and compassionate, Mr. Daniels is the teacher that all teachers hope to be. When Ally figures out that he is not going to be sending her to the office for her behaviors, she quickly begins to trust him. He recognized her strengths without highlighting her weaknesses.
I know many students that can relate to this books. Having an inclusion class, my students all have varying ability levels in reading, but all have strengths in other areas, even if it is outside of the classroom. This is an excellent book to teach understanding, tolerance, determination, and believing in oneself. A little part of me wants to believe that Hunt wrote this book in response to policymakers who want all students to pass a cookie-cutter test that doesn't highlight their varying talents and abilities. :)
Reader Rach gives 5/5 stars to Fish in a Tree.