• Paperback: 270 pages
• Publisher: Little A (July 5, 2016)
Fourteen-year-old March Wong knows everything there is to know about trees. They are his passion and his obsession, even after his recent falls—and despite the state’s threat to take him away from his mother if she can’t keep him from getting hurt. But the young autistic boy cannot resist the captivating pull of the Pacific Northwest’s lush forests just outside his back door.
One day, March is devastated to learn that the Eagle Tree—a monolithic Ponderosa Pine near his home in Olympia—is slated to be cut down by developers. Now, he will do anything in his power to save this beloved tree, including enlisting unlikely support from relatives, classmates, and even his bitter neighbor. In taking a stand, March will come face-to-face with some frightening possibilities: Even if he manages to save the Eagle Tree, is he risking himself and his mother to do it?
Intertwining themes of humanity and ecology, The Eagle Tree eloquently explores what it means part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us.
“Every human experience is unique, but The Eagle Tree provides insight into one distinctive and uniquely important perspective. The descriptions of climbing in The Eagle Tree get deep into the mathematical pattern-based sensory world of a person with autism. The experience of navigating a tree climb is described with mathematical and sensory detail that seems very authentic to me.” —Temple Grandin, PhD, author of Thinking in Pictures and Emergence: Labeled Autistic
“The Eagle Tree is a gorgeously written novel that features one of the most accurate, finely drawn and memorable autistic protagonists in literature. The hero of the book is like a 14-year-old Walt Whitman with autism, seeking communion with the ancient magnificent beings that tower over the landscape around Olympia, Washington. Ned Hayes plays with the conventions of the unreliable narrator so that you end up feeling like March is a very reliable narrator of glorious and terrifying aspects of the world that neurotypicals can’t see. Credible, authentic, powerful. A must-read.” —Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, winner of Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction
“The Eagle Tree portrays a teenager who is believable and lovable. March, the main character, is a living, breathing person with significant challenges who is so realistic I feel I know him. I have not enjoyed an autistic novel as much since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The Eagle Tree’s beautifully written narrator is a real joy—March Wong is an unexpected leader who remains true to himself and prevails. This novel of family and forest will leave an indelible mark on your heart.” —Susan Senator, New York Times featured author of Making Peace with Autism and Autism Adulthood
“A wonderful read! To say that the narrator’s mind is unusual would not be correct. His mind is simply and marvelously unique like yours and mine. Or rather, like yours and mine could be if we lifted the eyes of our hope to the crowns of trees and listened to the voice of our neglected spirit. The Eagle Tree will remind you of the beauty and truth you may have forgotten.” —Francisco X. Stork, award-winning author of Marcelo in the Real World
About Ned Hayes
Ned Hayes holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. His historical novel, Sinful Folk, was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award.
The Eagle Tree is based on his past experience working with children on the autistic spectrum and on family and friends he knows and loves. He lives with his wife and children in Olympia, Washington.
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