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Cover for Wishtree


Katherine Applegate


List Price: 16.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (9/25/2017)
Paperback (3/28/2023)
Paperback (1/8/2019)
Library Binding, Large Print (2/7/2018)
Paperback, Chinese (9/28/2019)
Hardcover, Chinese (3/1/2019)


An oak tree and a crow help their neighbors embrace their differences in this beautiful, nuanced, New York Times-bestselling middle-grade novel from Newbery Medalist author Katherine Applegate.

Trees can't tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree"—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches. Along with a crow named 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 experience as a wishtree is more important than ever.

Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, this is Katherine Applegate at her very best—writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.

This book has Common Core connections.

Praise For Wishtree

Praise for wishtree:

A New York Times Notable Book, 2017
A National Public Radio Best Book of 2017
A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
A Washington Post Best Book of 2017
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017
San Francisco Chronicle 2017 Gift Guide
Los Angeles Times 2017 Gift Guide

Autumn 2017 Kids’ Indie Next List "Top Pick" Title
Winner, E.B. White Read Aloud Award
2018 ALSC/ALA Notable Children's Book

"Wishtree is beautiful in every way one can imagine. Everyone should read this book." —R.J. Palacio, bestselling author of Wonder, White Bird, and Pony

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

"The simplicity of Newbery Medalist Applegate’s graceful novel contrasts powerfully with the prejudice it confronts. Narration comes from Red, an enormous red oak near an elementary school that also serves as a “wishtree” for the neighborhood—once a year, residents deposit wishes in Red’s branches and hollows...It’s a distinctive call for kindness, delivered by an unforgettable narrator."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Applegate introduces another quiet, resilient protagonist who -- like the caged gorilla in The One and Only Ivan and the working-class boy in Crenshaw -- speaks movingly to a noisy, fractious world. -- The Washington Post

The story’s wit and humor keep it from being heavy-handed, as do vivid portrayals of minor characters, especially Bongo, the sarcastic crow who is Red’s best friend. This is a book made for family sharing and discussion."--Raleigh News & Observer

"A book to read that sends the right message."--Parents magazine

"Timely, necessary, and brimming with heart."
-- Booklist, starred review

"Newbery Award–winning author Applegate meets high expectations in this tale told by a tree named Red, a red oak who is “two hundred and sixteen rings old.” ... Another stunning effort from Applegate. This thoughtful read is a top choice for middle graders."--School Library Journal, starred review

"This swiftly moving yet contemplative read is great for early middle grade, reluctant or tentative readers, or precocious younger students. A deceptively simple, tender tale in which respect, resilience, and hope triumph."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This gentle yet powerful book is suitable for all ages...and its message remains more vital than ever."--BookPage

"Inspires hope for positive change. Perfect for a powerful classroom read, Wishtree is another winner for Applegate."--Voices of Youth Advocates, starred review
Praise for Crenshaw:

A New York Times Bestseller
A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

"This accessible and moving novel demonstrates how the creative resilience of a child’s mind can soften difficult situations, while exploring the intersection of imagination and truth." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A compelling and unflinchingly honest treatment of a difficult topic." —School Library Journal, starred review

"The tone is warm and, occasionally, quirkily funny, but it doesn’t sugarcoat the effects of hunger and vulnerability." —The Horn Book, starred review

Feiwel & Friends, 9781250043221, 224pp.

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

About the Author

Katherine Applegate is the author of several best-selling young adult series, including Animorphs and Roscoe Riley Rules. Home of the Brave, her first standalone novel, received the SCBWI 2008 Golden Kite Award for Best Fiction and the Bank Street 2008 Josette Frank Award. She lives with her family in Irvine, California.

Conversation Starters from

1. Discuss Red’s comment: “Making others feel safe is a fine way to spend your days” (p. 26). How does the tree make others feel safe? Is this statement referring only to the animal inhabitants of the tree? What does this comment tell you about the personality of the tree?

2. Why do the animals feel comfortable with Samar? Why does Bongo give her gifts? What qualities of her nature make the animals trust her? Why do these qualities make it harder for her to make friends with other children?

3. Red compares the neighborhood to a garden, “wild and tangled and colorful” (p. 54). Why does the tree compare the people in the area to a garden? Why is the neighborhood not welcoming to Samar’s family?

4. Describe the boy who carves a word in the tree. What does the author tell you about him and what assumptions can you make about his character? Why do you think he would carve that word into the tree? How does this act affect Red, Bongo, Samar, and her family? What effect does the carving have on Francesca? What are the feelings of the police who come to investigate?

5. Why does Francesca want to cut the tree down? What do the police officers, Max and Sandy, think about her reasons? Discuss Max’s wish and what it means (p. 74).

6. Discuss Red’s description—“standing tall, reaching deep”—as it applies to the tree and as it applies to Samar (p. 71). What personality traits do the tree and Samar have in common? How do those traits help them both cope with the changes in their lives?

7. Discuss Red’s question, “How does friendship happen?” (p. 82). What is Bongo’s answer? Why do you think Red and Bongo are friends? What makes them special to each other? What qualities do you look for in a friend? Why is it hard for Samar and Stephen to become friends?

8. Why does Red decide to speak to the children? How does this act change their relationship to the tree and to each other? Why will the tree not speak to Francesca?

9. How does Stephen help to make a difference in the neighborhood on Wishing Day? What is the message the children in the school deliver with their wishes? What makes Francesca change her mind about cutting down the tree?

10. Discuss Red’s statement: “I wanted to make a difference, just a little difference, before I left this lovely world” (p. 126). What difference does Red make by talking to Stephen and Samar? Discuss Stephen’s comment: “My parents aren’t bad people. They’re just . . . afraid of things” (p. 125). What do you think you can do to make a difference in this world?