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Fiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 144
Themes: coming of age, gender roles, toxic masculinity, Jewish culture, community service
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 22/Sep/2020
Fry Reading Level: 2.9
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Twelve-year-old Fishel (Fish) Rosner doesn’t like regular “boy” things. He hates sports and would prefer to read or do crafts instead of climbing trees or riding dirt bikes with his friends. He also loves to dance.

But all his interests are considered “girly.” Fish doesn’t get why that’s a bad thing. He’s just interested in different things than other boys. When he asks his Bubby to teach him to knit, she tells him to go play outside. When he begs his mom to take him to Zumba, she enrolls him in water polo instead. Why does everyone else get to decide what Fish should or shouldn't do?

Kirkus Reviews
“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.”
School Library Journal
“These quality, relatable novels are ideal for students at the middle school level who benefit from ultra-readable formats.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“An excellent story about gender roles and growing up…Fast-paced, and the ending is both satisfying and heartwarming…An excellent read-aloud choice, and its contents would provide many opportunities for discussion. Highly Recommended.”
Jewish Book Council
“High­ly rec­om­mend­ed...Fishel’s sto­ry zips along and the vocab­u­lary and length make it acces­si­ble even for reluc­tant read­ers…Read­ers will sup­port [Fish] through­out his strug­gle to pur­sue his own inter­ests and rise beyond labeling.”
Association of Jewish Libraries
“Uplifting, gentle…Exudes inter-generational warmth, family love, and friendship.”


Mock Sydney Taylor Book Award  | 2021 | Winner
Notable Social Studies Trade Book  | 2021 | Commended
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection  | 2021 | Commended
Diamond Willow Award  | 2021 | Short-listed

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