Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Albert Character Analysis

Albert is one of Ally's best friends. A hulking boy who loves science and logic, he comes to school every day wearing a shirt that reads "Flint" and a pair of jeans. He's also often covered in fresh bruises. While everyone in Ally's class agrees that Albert is smart, they often find his insistence on exactitude and his pedantic nature trying. Shay teases Albert for this as well as for his family's poverty, which is often apparent in the clothes that Albert wears. Ally eventually invites Albert to sit with her and Keisha, and the three become close friends. Keisha and Ally learn that Albert gets free lunch, that Albert's dad is an inventor who named Albert after Albert Einstein, and that his bruises come from a group of bullies who beat Albert up almost daily after school. Because Albert is a pacifist, he doesn't fight back. However, this doesn't mean that this treatment doesn't bother him; he reveals that his "Flint" shirts are a reference to a Star Trek character named Flint, who fled to a planet to live with robots to escape unkind people on Earth. Albert still makes an effort to not let bullies see that they're bothering him, as he believes this will make the bullying worse. He wants to be a scientist when he grows up, and when it comes out that Ally has dyslexia and Albert learns how many great scientists have had dyslexia as well, he confides in Ally that he almost wishes he had it too. Albert finally stands up to the bullies when they try to pick on Ally and Keisha. It only takes a couple of punches, but the novel implies that Albert will never have to deal with the bullies again. He seems more confident and happier after standing up for himself and his friends.

Albert Quotes in Fish in a Tree

The Fish in a Tree quotes below are all either spoken by Albert or refer to Albert. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Fish in a Tree published in 2015.
Chapter 11 Quotes

I'm not perfect, but at least I'm not mean.

And then my heart sinks, because I realize that I just was.

I guess I did it because I was lonely. Now I know that there are worse things than being lonely.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker), Albert, Shay, Jessica
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 34 Quotes

“People ask what you want to be when you grow up. I know what kind of grown-up I want to be. But I don't know who I am now.” Albert stretches his legs out. “There are always people ready to tell you who you are, like a nerd or a jerk or a wimp.”

Related Characters: Albert (speaker), Ally, Keisha
Page Number: 183-84
Explanation and Analysis:
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And I think of words. The power they have. How they can be waved around like a wand—sometimes for good, like how Mr. Daniels uses them. How he makes kids like me and Oliver feel better about ourselves. And how words can also be used for bad. To hurt.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker), Mr. Daniels, Keisha, Albert, Oliver
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 50 Quotes

I feel like I'm going to cry. Thinking how Albert has come to school every day with those bruises for all this time. We always asked him what it would take for him to fight back. Turns out it was protecting us.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker), Keisha, Albert, The Bullies
Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:
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Albert Character Timeline in Fish in a Tree

The timeline below shows where the character Albert appears in Fish in a Tree. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: In Trouble Again
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...Shay groans that Ally should act normally, Oliver throws himself on his desk laughing, and Albert, a bulky kid wearing a t-shirt that reads "Flint," sits up straight. Ally would rather... (full context)
Chapter 7: No Grandpas Here
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...the planets by remembering, "my very excellent mother just served us nachos." Ally notices that Albert's arms are covered in bruises as he says that he feels bad for Pluto after... (full context)
Chapter 9: Bag Full of Nothing
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Albert gets up, covered in bruises and wearing a shirt with "Flint" on it, as he... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...her baking business "Hidden Messages," and Mr. Daniels says the possibilities are infinite. At this, Albert raises his hand and explains why the possibilities aren't actually infinite, as Keisha would eventually... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...Keisha, and Jessica run to the sink for water after eating the wasabi pea, while Albert says with a pained look that it's good. Oliver eats his with no reaction and... (full context)
Chapter 11: Scrambled Egg
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Jessica points to Albert and everyone starts laughing. Ally doesn't understand why; Albert is dressed in his usual uniform... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...Shay asks if Ally will join them in wearing robes and what she thinks of Albert's shoes. Ally feels as though she's being interrogated. She considers sticking up for Albert but... (full context)
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Shay tells Albert that he doesn't have to care about his appearance, but everyone who has to look... (full context)
Chapter 12: What's Your Problem, Albert?
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
...check on her. Ally explains how Jessica and Shay roped her into making fun of Albert and says she feels awful. Mom tells Ally that she can decide who she wants... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...Ally is drawing a pigeon wedding in her notebook and wondering how to apologize to Albert when she notices Keisha behind her. Keisha compliments the drawing, which embarrasses Ally. Ally admires... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Albert walks in, looking upset. Ally goes to him to apologize. He insists that the teasing... (full context)
Chapter 13: Trouble with Flowers
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...music teacher, Mrs. Muldoon, because she's prone to blowing up. Backstage, Shay makes fun of Albert's ill-fitting clothes. Keisha stands up for Albert, but Shay insists some people deserve to be... (full context)
Chapter 17: Misfit Lunch
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Ally watches Albert pretend to read and notices a new bruise on his jaw. She approaches him and... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
At lunch, Albert asks who decided that a half-pint of milk is enough. Ally suggests he buys two... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...down and immediately says that she watched Star Trek and the special effects are pathetic. Albert looks horrified, but they're interrupted as Shay and Jessica walk by and make a joke... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Albert and Keisha discuss the merits of the cowboy who rides an ostrich. Albert insists that... (full context)
Chapter 18: Truths and Untruths
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
In the cafeteria, Keisha addresses Albert and says she wants to talk about his Flint shirt. He corrects her that he... (full context)
Chapter 19: Not-So-Sweet Secret
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Mom smiles when Ally, Albert, and Keisha walk into Petersen's. She seats them in a booth and takes their ice... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Albert stares at his ice cream and then says it reminds him of Ellis Island. At... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Keisha continues to angrily try to convince Albert to fight back, while he continues to cite his pacifist beliefs and looks progressively more... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...lunchbox, Ally reached over and grabbed a hunk of cake in retaliation. Keisha laughs while Albert looks wide-eyed. Ally thinks she hates this story—she knew immediately she'd pay for her behavior.... (full context)
Chapter 21: Butterfly Wishes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...makes Ally agree to go to Shay's party, even though Shay is mean and neither Albert nor Keisha are going. At lunch the next day, Ally asks Albert and Keisha for... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Ally remembers Albert saying once that Native Americans believe that if a person caught a butterfly and whispered... (full context)
Chapter 22: No Way to Treat a Queen
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Ally tries to call Albert later, but she gets a message that his number isn't in service. She hopes he... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Later at lunch, Shay compliments Albert's Flint shirt and explains that she got a new sweater that's purple, the color of... (full context)
Chapter 24: Imaginary Hero
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...a writing exercise where students must write about a fictional character they consider a hero. Albert finds the premise illogical, while Oliver spouts off the names of every superhero. He even... (full context)
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...all and turns down the offer. Shay calls Ally a dope and Ally thinks she's right—Albert and Keisha are true friends and she only just realized that. (full context)
Chapter 25: Celebration or Devastation?
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...he entered all of them in the first ever Fantastico Poetry Award. Ally hopes that Albert will win and watches Shay. As Mr. Daniels begins to announce the award, Ally sees... (full context)
Chapter 26: Stalling
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...fit in. Keisha is quiet for a minute and then says that she, Ally, and Albert don't fit in, but it's silly to want to be like Shay and fit in... (full context)
Chapter 27: Half-Baked Afternoon
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Keisha invites Albert and Ally to her house to help her test if cookie dough letters will work... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Albert asks for milk, explaining that they've switched to water at his house. He then asks... (full context)
Chapter 29: Fish in a Tree
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...to visit the Noah Webster House. Ally thinks it'll be a silver dollar day as Albert starts filling his pockets with acorns. Oliver and Max throw acorns at a tree, Ally... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Ally ends up in a group with Albert and Shay and the guide takes them through the house. They see a bedroom and... (full context)
Chapter 34: Birth of a Star
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
After school a few days later, Keisha and Ally go to Albert's house. Ally still has "possible" in her pocket. Albert introduces his nervous and surprised mother,... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Ally looks around Albert's sparsely furnished room and the many science posters on his wall. She points to one... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Albert pauses and then says if nobody's perfect, then logically, Ally must be perfect. Keisha laughs... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Albert asks Ally if she'd rather be in a tank with a killer whale or a... (full context)
Chapter 36: In the Game of Life...
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...Mr. Daniels play chess, Ally thinks that Keisha is like a bishop—able to move quickly. Albert is a king; valuable, but very slow. Ally is the knight, which moves in an... (full context)
Chapter 37: A Chicken, a Wolf, and a Problem
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...he knows, but he can't keep the chicken from getting eaten. Suki struggles, as does Albert, and then Mr. Daniels lets the class work on it on their own. Ally asks... (full context)
Chapter 39: To-Shay
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
The next morning, Albert brushes off Keisha's questions about his new black eye and offers Ally a sign he... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Albert and Keisha give Ally one more pep talk and then, Mr. Daniels calls Shay to... (full context)
 Chapter 40: Tears of Different Kinds
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Keisha and Albert call Ally Madam President all day. Ally is happy until the end of the day,... (full context)
Chapter 41: Not-So-Secret Letter
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...all the clubs she could start and sees a mind movie of her, Keisha, and Albert riding a rocket. Shay pulls Ally back to earth by telling her that everyone thinks... (full context)
Chapter 42: The Gifts of No Excuses, Scotch Tape, and Antibiotics
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...what they'd like to have an unlimited amount of. Shay says she'd choose money, but Albert says he'd have antibiotics. He says that he could give them out to people who... (full context)
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...says that according to her grandfather, everyone is unique and that makes them all great. Albert points out that E. coli is unique and very dangerous, but Mr. Daniels insists that... (full context)
Chapter 43: Set the World on Fire
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Because Keisha and Ally are bothered by all the teasing that Albert gets for his shirt, they make two shirts for themselves so that they match. Ally... (full context)
Chapter 46: Flying Tigers and Baby Elephants
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
At lunch, Albert says he used to call Ally the Flying Tiger after pre-World War Two airplanes with... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Ally asks if Albert has a nickname for himself. He does; he calls himself the Elephant. It's not because... (full context)
Chapter 47: Great Minds Don't Think Alike
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...why those people are famous. The people include Thomas Edison, George Washington, Henry Ford, and Albert Einstein. Albert talks about Einstein and says that he's named after Einstein. They go through... (full context)
Chapter 48: Oliver's Idea of Lucky
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...bugs her when Shay says that her brother in kindergarten sees letters the right way. Albert says that seeing letters backwards is a sign of intelligence. He says that he sees... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...that Ally is a good artist, and that she's sorry for everything. Keisha turns to Albert and asks him what's up with Jessica being nice. Then, Keisha starts laughing about how... (full context)
Chapter 50: A Hero's Job
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
As Keisha, Albert, and Ally walk home, they hear a voice behind yelling for "brain" to wait up.... (full context)
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Ally feels ready to cry as she thinks about all of Albert's bruises and the fact that the one thing capable of making him fight was standing... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
At Petersen's, Albert seems taller and Keisha keeps acting out the fight. Ally pulls out her social studies... (full context)