Take a Shelfie: Wishtree | Mentoring in the Middle

Take a Shelfie: Wishtree

After finishing Wishtree by Katherine Applegate, I've already decided that I'll start next year with this as my read-aloud.  There are so many things to like about it!


Red is an oak tree who is 216 rings old.  Every May first, people from the neighborhood come and tie wishes on his branches until they are practically bending over.  The animals who live in the tree watch the comings of goings of people on the street along with Red, and they have opinions about most of them, including Stephen and his family, and newer residents, Samar and her family.

Not everyone is happy that Samar and her Muslim family moved in, and one particular boy carves a hateful message on Red's trunk.  Additionally, Francesca, who owns the property Red is on, is thinking about cutting him down.  It takes all the animals and some special skills by Red to find solutions to all of these difficult circumstances.

Why You Should Read It

There are so many elements to love!
  • The story is told from a first person point of view, the tree
  • The writing is filled with figurative language
  • The illustrations are beautiful
  • The themes touch on accepting others and working together
  • In a beautiful way, the book touches on lives well lived
  • It's totally charming
I think this book might work better as a read-aloud than an independent book, especially for students who want action from the very first paragraph.  But for your students who can hang in there with this sweet and fantastic plot, it's well worth the ride!  And as a read-aloud, it's ripe with content for discussion!

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