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Teachers and students reading "Wish Tree" during the Bell Top Book Club.

Teachers and students reading “Wish Tree” by Katherine Applegate as part of the Bell Top Book Club.

The students sat quietly on the floor of the school cafeteria, following along in their crisp new books as 3rd grade teacher Tracy O’Neil read aloud from “Wish Tree” by Katherine Applegate. The entire school read Chapters 1 and 2 together as part of the 5th annual Bell Top Book Club kickoff on Thursday afternoon.

Throughout the month of May, every student in the school will read “Wish Tree” and participate in literary activities along the way.

“Bell Top Book Club brings readers of all ages within our community together and gives us this unique connection,” said Special Education teacher Tracy Cornell. “We are careful to select books with powerful messages, that not only capture our hearts with endearing characters, but also leave us thinking and wanting to be better people too.”

Mrs. Cornell and 1st Grade Teacher Sarah Lussier, who coordinate the Bell Top Book Club together, led students in a Wheel of Fortune-style game to reveal this year’s book title. A large reproduction of the book’s cover, which was designed by Art Teacher Mary Kay Ostwald, was then uncovered to applause from students.

Students holding their new booksAs part of the Bell Top Book Club, every student in the school received their own copy of the book courtesy of the school’s PTO.

“The Bell Top Book Club is a highly anticipated event for both the staff and students,” said Principal Martin Mahar. “This program unites the Bell Top School community to share in the enjoyment of reading which creates a special bond between the staff and students.”

Special thanks to the Bell Top PTO for once again supporting this program!

About the Book (from wishtreebook.com)
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 her crow friend 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 experiences as a wishtree are 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.

Bell Top Book Club Selections
2019 – “Wish Tree” by Katherine Applegate
2018 – “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo
2017 – “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate
2016 – “The Trumpet of the Swan” by E.B. White
2015 – “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo

Students holding their new books

Teachers reading a book to students

Students holding their new books