Archive for March 16th, 2015

SOL #16

SOL #16

Join the IMWAYR meme.

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fish in a tree - final cover

If you do not have this book in your library for middle grade students, then get it now. I read Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s first book One for the Murphys and now again with Fish in a Tree, she has drawn me in to love her characters.

I read for strong characters, characters I can believe in, characters who speak to me. Ally Nickerson and her quirky friends are a group I want to hang out with. I was sorry to reach the end and have to tell them goodbye. In my mind, they continue on and do great things.

Ally is in 6th grade and struggles with dyslexia; although, she doesn’t know that her problems stem from a real disability. She believes she is just plain stupid. She plays movies in her head and draws in her sketchbook of impossible things. Until Mr. Daniels comes along and notices her. He reaches out to her and helps her to understand dyslexia. She believes in herself. Every teacher should read this book to meet Ally’s empathetic, caring teacher and see the power you have to change a life.

I recently read a touching post by Lynda Mullaly Hunt on The Nerdy Book Club about her own relationship with her brother which informed her creation of Ally’s brother Travis. Not only was this an awesome post, but Lynda responded to each comment. I spoke to her of my own struggle to create real characters with a deep relationship.

Nerdy book club comment

Here is a quote from Chapter 48 that shows how Lynda’s books are about more than the characters and their individual problems. They teach life lessons.

And looking around the room, I remember thinking that my reading differences were like dragging a concrete block around all day, and I felt sorry for myself. Now I realize that everyone has their own blocks to drag around. And they all feel heavy. (p. 245)

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