Out now from Orca Book Publishers!
“Fish is assertive and brave, outspoken in his critique of rigid gender norms. Readers will rejoice as he stands up to other boys and to his stepfather, contesting Darren’s shallow exhortation that “boys don’t cry” with tearful truth. He is a formidable ally to girls and women. Though brief, this text masterfully connects the toxic masculinity to its roots in deep misogyny, making Fish a hero people of all genders can stand up and cheer for.
All readers will appreciate this book’s nuanced messaging around gender roles and trusting yourself.”
“The plot of Fish Out of Water is fast-paced, and the ending is both satisfying and heartwarming. The characters are believable. The story is told in first person from Fish’s point of view. The novel has 14 chapters plus an epilogue which happens six months later. Fish Out of Water would be an excellent read-aloud choice, and its contents would provide many opportunities for discussion about the topic of gender roles.
Fishel (Fish) Rosner has a problem. Actually, two problems. One, he needs to figure out what his bar mitzvah project will be, and two, he has a secret. The mitzvah project isn’t a huge deal—he just needs to figure out what kind of meaningful charity project to do as part of his bar mitzvah community service requirement.
But his secret is a huge deal. He doesn’t like regular ‘boy things’. Things like sports—playing or watching—or doing outdoorsy things: climbing trees, or even riding dirt bikes with his friends. He’d much rather be reading or doing crafts. And it’s not like he’s a total couch potato—he loves to dance.
But all these activities are considered ‘girl things’. It’s not that he feels like a girl or wishes he was one, he’s just interested in different things than other boys.
When he asks his Bubby—his grandmother—to teach him to knit, she scoffs and tells him to go play outside. When he begs his mom to take him to Zumba, she enrolls him in a water polo. Why is everyone else so adamant about what Fish can’t or shouldn’t do?
Fish feels like—well, a fish out of water, even in his own skin. When he sees a poster at school about a knitting club, he joins, determined to learn, even if it means he’s the only boy. Even if it means other boys around school—like his own friends—don’t get it and tease him, calling him names and accusing him of being a girl. He doesn’t even understand why that’s an insult.
Will Fish be able to stand strong for what he wants to be? Or is he destined to lose all his friends just because he’s different? And will he ever be able to figure out a meaningful mitzvah project?
Add to Goodreads – don’t forget to review after you’ve read it!
AND NOW, because you are awesome, here is a downloadable beginner knitting project – a bookmark. This pattern assumes you know the very basics of knitting – casting on, the knit stitch, and casting off, but if you don’t, you should be able to find tutorials online to get you started.
If you’d like to use FISH as part of a book club or class project, here is a nifty discussion guide with lots of thought-provoking questions, read-aloud suggestions, and activities.