Review: Fish in a Tree (2015)

fishtreeI want to share this book with every teacher that I know.

This is the story of Ally, a bright young girl who has creatively managed to fool a lot of people. Her poor behavior at school hides her truth. She can’t read.

This is also the story of Mr. Daniels, a teacher who sees Ally’s potential and finds a way to reach her.

The irony is that the kids who this book will speak to the most are not likely to be kids who pick it up to read. This book would be a great title for teachers to read aloud. It would appeal to a wide variety of ages, and I think could do well in grades 2-5.

Ally’s determination and optimism send a positive message to readers on the power of hard work and perseverance. The kindnesses shown by Mr. Daniels and by some of Ally’s classmates illustrate how simple acts of caring can change a person’s life.

I highly recommend reading this book, and sharing it with kids in your life!



Review: Crenshaw (2015)

crenshawCrenshaw! Who can resist? A giant cat who loves purple jelly beans and bubble baths. I was hooked by the cover alone, and happy to find that the heart of the book delivers. This is a compassionate tale of young Jackson, a kid whose family has fallen on hard times financially. Jackson is not one to let his imagination run wild, so the reappearance of his imaginary friend is troubling. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he and his family may find themselves living in the car, again?

Author Katherine Applegate deftly navigates this tale, giving an endearing voice to her main character. Readers will root for Jackson and wish for their own Crenshaw. This book shines light on the struggle that homeless children endure, providing us opportunities for empathy and connection to anyone affected in this way.

Many thanks to Net Galley for providing this novel in advance. -Erin