86 pages 2 hours read

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a Tree

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2015

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Essay Questions

Use these essay questions as writing and critical thinking exercises for all levels of writers, and to build their literary analysis skills by requiring textual references throughout the essay.

Differentiation Suggestion: For English learners or struggling writers, strategies that work well include graphic organizers, sentence frames or starters, group work, or oral responses.

Scaffolded Essay Questions

Student Prompt: Write a short (1-3 paragraph) response using one of the bulleted outlines below. Cite details from the text over the course of your response that serve as examples and support.

1. The title of the book is derived from an Albert Einstein quote that Mr. Daniels paraphrases: “Everyone is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking that it’s stupid” (159).

  • Why do you think the author chose this quote as inspiration for the book’s title? (topic sentence)
  • Where in the story does this quote appear? What does the analogy mean, and how does it apply to Ally’s experiences? Does it apply to any other character’s experiences in the book?
  • In your conclusion, summarize the reasons why the book’s title is an apt one.

2. Albert makes an observation about killer whales, noting how, despite their scary name, they never attack people in the wild; if the killer whale had a different name, people would view them differently.