86 pages 2 hours read

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a Tree

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2015

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Discussion/Analysis Prompt

Ally’s biggest struggle in school is in academics, but she is able to face this challenge strengthened by Mr. Daniels’s belief in her and the different learning strategies he introduces her to. However, Ally also struggles with something else in school: incessant teasing from Shay. What are some of the incidents and relationships that help Ally navigate this challenge? What lessons does Ally learn from her friends? What conclusions does she draw about friendship, both from the ones she forms and the ones she observes around her?

Teaching Suggestion: The power of friendship is a prevailing idea throughout the book. Having students reflect on the relationships in Ally’s life and how they contribute to her development may help them see the importance of strong, authentic friendships and the positive impact they can have. As the middle school years can be a time of changing friendships and a quest for identity, Ally’s struggles and the lessons she learns via her own friends and what she observes between Jessica and Shay may be particularly relatable to the class.