Wishtree Novel Teaches Important Lessons in Compassion and Friendship

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By Alison Wenger May 30, 2019

Here at Macaroni Kid, we love telling you about some of the newest books designed to continue developing critical reading skills in our kids. From read-aloud picture books to science fiction tales for pre-teens, there have been great suggestions to build your family bookshelf.

This time, we’re here with a different type of book–one that both older kids and adults will cherish.

In the best-selling novel Wishtree by Katherine Applegate, Red is an oak tree and the neighborhood "wishtree" where people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches.

Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red's hollows, this "wishtree" watches over the neighborhood. You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red's experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

With a focus on compassion, friendship, and tolerance, Wishtree offers important messages on inclusivity and community action. Applegate’s writing covers the news topic of immigration with sensitivity and grace. The book offers lessons that kids can apply at school with their friends, and adults can use to have important discussions as their kids navigate their teen years.

Applegate, who was awarded the Newbery Medal for her book The One and Only Ivan, has received critical acclaim for Wishtree.

“A beautifully written, morally bracing story that will leave its imprint on a reader of any age.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Speaks movingly to a noisy, fractious world.” —The Washington Post

Wishtree is available at major book retailers or can be ordered online. This would make a great end-of-year gift for your students, or a terrific suggestion for a youth or adult book club.