By the end of the first page, this book had bumped into my favorites of all-time list, and by the time I finished it a few hours later (because I couldn't put it down!), I had decided that every single person I know should read this book. And maybe even own their own copy.
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (Lexile: 590; Interest Level: Grades 4-7) gripped me from the beginning with the amazing narration of the tree. Did you know trees could talk? Apparently, only to those they know can listen, and that does not normally include humans. But this tree had a story to tell. A story that involves trees. And humans. And time. And history. And patience. And acceptance.
Beginning with information about being a tree (which we definitely need as background here), the story widens out to the neighborhood that the tree watches over: the people who bring wishes to tie on the branches on the first day of May; the people who live in the houses in the shade; the people who own the houses; the animals who live in the tree, under the porches, and in the houses of the people. And then, in particular, there is Samar and the wish she makes to have a friend. The wish the tree decides to grant.
Seriously, this is a must-read book for everyone. It is gentle, familiar, challenging, and difficult. It will touch your heart and make you want to touch the hearts of others. (224 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.