Fish: a Novel

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Fish: a Novel Book Poster Image
Aid-worker family races to safety ahead of war.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

A man is shot and killed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this engrossing, uplifting story of survival could be used to discuss the costs of war, humanitarian aid workers, and refugees in nearly any conflict on earth.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydellap November 26, 2014

Great narrator and wonderful book

This was not, for us, the typical children's book. This topic, of surviving war and hardship, was much deeper and exciting story. The narration is fabulous... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTHE WALKING DEAD 490 May 16, 2018

Fish; by L.S Matthews

1.Tiger( Don't know the gender of the child. He/ she doesn't say.) and his family have to leave their village because of a drought.Tiger sees' a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bygossipgirlxoxo1 April 8, 2018


I had to read this book for school last year and it was a struggle to get through one page. It didn't have the worst writing, but it wasn't a book th... Continue reading

What's the story?

Tiger's parents are aid workers in an unspecified war- and drought-ravaged country. Now, with the fighting moving into their area and the people they were helping all gone, they must flee on foot across drought-parched mountains to try to cross a closed border.

Just before they leave, Tiger finds a fish, miraculously still alive, in a drying puddle. They put the fish in a pot with a bit of their remaining fresh water, and set out on their trek, led by the Guide and a donkey. Along the way they encounter hardship, privations, and soldiers, but Tiger is determined to keep the fish alive until they reach their destination.

Is it any good?

With many layers of symbolism, this engrossing, uplifting survival story by a first-time author lingers in the mind long after the ending, and makes for a terrific discussion-group selection. It's interesting that Tiger's gender, race, and even the country and continent in which the story takes place are never mentioned; Tiger is Everychild, in everyplace where conflict and hardship are endemic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Tiger copes with his family's circumstances. How does he make the best of the situation? How does he learn to help others less fortunate than him?

Book details

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