Thursday, December 3, 2015

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Penguin Group, 2015. 276 p. Fiction
Everyone thinks Ally is just dumb, even Ally. The other kids seem to be able to read so easily, but it has never been easy for Ally. She lives in constant terror that someone will ask her to read or write in class, so she keeps a store of tricks she can use to get out of reading, most of which land her in the principal's office.  All of that changes when her teacher goes on maternity leave, and a new teacher takes her place. Mr. Daniels quickly figures out that Ally is not dumb at all. He tries to find out why she has been labeled a "problem" student, but he has to proceed carefully. She has been traumatized by so many other teachers that she is easily discouraged.  It takes the concerted effort of Mr. Daniels, and Ally's two new misfit friends, Albert and Keisha, to convince Ally just how smart, and strong, she really is.

This is a wonderful, feel-good, story. Hunt motivates all the characters, even the "mean girl," and shows how everyone is struggling with something. Readers will find themselves cheering for Ally and wishing all children with learning disabilities could have a teacher like Mr. Daniels. This title is available through the library in print, and as a downloadable e-book and e-audiobook.

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