“…if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its life believing it is stupid.”
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt is about a girl named Ally. She is a smart young lady, but she has an undiagnosed learning disability. The ability to diagnose her/identify her struggles has likely been compounded by the fact that she is the daughter of a military service member and they have had to move a lot as a result. She also feels like she never really belongs.
Her struggles with her learning disability cause her to get into trouble a lot. She does this on purpose to distract her teachers from the fact that she can’t really read – at least not like the other kids in her classes. One day, her teacher goes on maternity leave and she gets a new teacher. He looks for the unique talents and gifts in every student and is encouraging to all students.
This teacher digs deeper with Ally and discovers that she is having problems with some of her work. He has her tested by a reading specialist and they are able to diagnose her dyslexia. He works with her to overcome her challenges, but he also highlights her strengths and helps to build her confidence.
This book was a fantastic coming of age story about a girl who just wants to be accepted by her peers and to be able to do what they are able to do. I really enjoyed the characterization and how the story really connected me to the experiences that Ally had and the challenges she faced.
This book was particularly meaningful for me as I have a child with learning disabilities. I have struggled to find ways to help him, but now I realize that a lot of my struggles were because I did not understand my kid’s challenges. This book really opened my eyes to how they experience the world and to solutions that might help to overcome those challenges. I am grateful to that, and I am hopeful that I can find ways to help.
On to the next book. I am so happy to have another day off today. Until next time, Happy Reading!