The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes
This is the sweet story of a boy named March who loves trees and his (mis)adventures exploring and climbing them. Last year I created a neurodiveristy reading list to read more books with neurodivergent characters and this was recommended by some other book lists. March is on the Autism Spectrum so he does have some challenges with personal relationships and social thinking, but he’s smart and passionate, he is surrounded by people who care about him and who want to see him thrive. His uncle taught him to climb trees and he hasn’t stopped since. Now he’s 14 and adjusting to his parents separation and moving to a new house, but from this new house he finds The Eagle Tree, a giant old-growth tree, hundreds of years old and unusual for the area, which is slated to be knocked down to make a new home development. He becomes obsessed with the tree and his desire to climb it and it pushes him out of his comfortable routine and he has to face fears and challenges to try to save it.
The author is not on the autism spectrum but said in the afterward that he’s worked several years with kids who are, and I found his portrayal of autism’s quirks to be genuine and not too stereotypical. I truly enjoyed this book and March’s inner dialogue, it is a little heavy on details about trees but I think that perfectly illustrates how unwavering and all-encompassing fixations can be with those on the spectrum. 4.5/5 stars ⭐️
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