By: Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Sixth-grader Ally Nickerson has passed through seven schools in seven years and has hidden a deep, dark secret at each one. She can’t read and to cover up the shame she feels, she acts out and winds up in the principal’s office at each school. However, at Ally’s current school a long-term substitute, Mr. Daniels, sees through Ally’s charade. He tells Ally that he suspects she has dyslexia and provides tools to help Ally overcome her learning disability. Ally is also dealing with a father who is deployed in the Middle East and she struggles to make friends at her new school. The supporting cast of quirky characters who are dealing with their own problems round out the story and add interest beyond the focus on dyslexia. This is a touching story that pays tribute to teachers that go the extra mile for their students. Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder may enjoy this title.
Fish in a Tree is Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s second middle-grade novel. Her first novel, One for the Murphys was published in 2012. Hunt is an expert at exploring themes of family and friendship. I hope she continues to write middle-grade books because I plan to read everything she writes.