The Eagle Tree
The remarkable story of a boy and a tree
“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. Credible, authentic, powerful.”Steve Silberman
The Eagle Tree on Stage
Fourteen-year-old March Wong knows everything there is to know about trees. They are his passion and his obsession, even after his recent fall—and despite social services’ threat to take him away from his mother if she doesn’t keep him out of their branches.
But the young autistic boy just cannot resist the captivating pull of the Pacific Northwest’s lush forests just outside his backdoor.
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 to be a 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 Eagle Tree seems very authentic to me.”Temple Grandin
“The Eagle Tree portrays a teenager that 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. The Eagle Tree will leave an indelible mark on your heart.”Susan Senator
“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 couldbe 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 of the beauty and truth you may have forgotten.”Francisco X. Stork
“To see the world through the eyes of someone else is one of reading’s greatest powers. The Eagle Tree carried me, with sensitivity and grace, into the mind of an autistic teenage boy—one who would rather climb tall trees than meet his mother’s gaze.
In this unconventional and uplifting story, the young narrator learns that a beloved ponderosa pine near his Olympia, Washington, home will be cut down. Panicked, he gathers an unlikely group of allies to save it from destruction. He must overcome numerous barriers to convince his mother, his uncle, a grumpy neighbor, and reluctant politicians to help him with his fight. I found myself moved by the boy’s determination and awed by his resourcefulness.
I can’t recall a story that pulled me so deeply into the inner workings of its protagonist’s extraordinary mind. But the novel does more than capture perfectly the unexpected and powerful voice of autism. The Eagle Tree also explores what it means to be part of a family and connected through our hearts and minds to the natural world that surrounds us.”Carmen Johnson