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The Secret Tree

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,755 Ratings  ·  230 Reviews
A sweet story of a tree that's literally filled with secrets.

What is your secret?

Minty's neighborhood is full of mysteries. There's the Witch House, a spooky old farmhouse on the other side of woods from where Minty and her best friend, Paz, live. There's the Man Bat, a seven-foot-tall half man, half bat who is rumored to fly through the woods. And there are the Mean Boys,
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Scholastic Press
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Newbery 2013
36th out of 113 books — 1,204 voters
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E-Library [vol. 7]
95th out of 100 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kelly Hager
May 02, 2012 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing
Minty (short for Araminta) has a simple life. She loves roller derby, spending time with her best friend Paz and annoying her older sister, Thea. But lately things are getting complicated. Paz is starting to spend more time with these other girls and leaving Minty out. Plus, there are all these weird things happening in the neighborhood---things are disappearing and there's this weird boy taking pictures of people. And then Minty finds the tree.

It's this old tree with a hole in it---you know the
"They all have their secrets, I thought. Each person's real life is a mystery.

The fireworks exploded, commemorating a war for independence, while all around me people fought their private battles. Even the Mean Boys. Sister versus brother, friend versus friend, son versus father ... they all had private battles that no one understood except for them.

I wanted to understand. But the more I spied, the more mystery I uncovered. I'd never know the whole story. There was so much I couldn't guess."

Aug 29, 2012 Caren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This book feels very true, very real-to-life. It is a perfect description of all of the little battles of growing up. Araminta (Minty) will be eleven at the end of the summer, and will begin middle school in the fall. In the meantime, however, she has to work through maturing at a different rate than her childhood best friend, making a new trusted friend, trying to solve neighborhood mysteries, and life with an irritable older sister. She becomes a sort of neighborhood spy, using secrets written ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Melissa rated it liked it
Sweet story, about the power of friendship, the love and "hate" between siblings and the hope of a secret carried on the wings of the wind ( or found within the hallow trunk of "the secret tree"). The transition between elementary and middle school is a hard one to navigate for a lot of tweens, especially when it comes to trying to figure out how you fit in when everyone around you seems to be changing. This story starts off with a mystery, a flash that appears from the other edge of the woods, ...more
Ms. Yingling
Oct 21, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it it was ok
Minty and her friend Paz are wild about the roller derby, and are busy practicing their routine for the local Fourth of July parade. Summer is filled with all sorts of other activities, too-- staying away from the Mean Boys who give them a hard time, getting away from Paz's annoying little sister Lennie, and figuring out the mysteries of the Witch House and the Man-Bat, as well as the mystery of who put a curse on Paz. Minty gets some clues when she finds a tree in the woods where people in the ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Cathy rated it really liked it
In the book, The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford it's the summer before sixth grade for Minty and she is curious about all the mysteries in her neighborhood, the Witch House, the Man-Bat, and Crazy Ike's story to name a few. Why is her older sister, Thea, acting crazy, why is her best friend in all the world, Paz, hanging out with new friends, what makes the mean boys so mean, and who is the strange new boy who is hanging around in the woods taking pictures. When Mindy discovers a big, old tre ...more
Emilia Stirling
Dec 13, 2012 Emilia Stirling rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-secret-tree
The Secret Tree, written by Natalie Standiford was a very interesting book. It was about mystery friendship and betrayal.
Minty is an average soon to be 6th grader who lives in Catonsville Maryland. Minty, Thea, Paz, Lennie and Melina all live in the same neighborhood, Paz is Minty’s best friend, she has two sisters, Melina and Lennie. Thea is Minty’s sister who always complains about Minty to Melina.
On Halloween Paz and Minty got dared to ding-dong-ditch a creepy old which house by these two
Julie Graves
Apr 15, 2012 Julie Graves rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
Minty and her best friend Paz are keeping themselves busy during summer vacation. Changes are about to occur. They will be entering middle school when summer is over. But even before that their friendship is tested by change.

Minty has always desired to be in the Roller Derby. She imagines her name to be Minty Fresh with Paz being named Pax A. Punch. But Paz begins hanging out with another group of girls and is no longer interested in Minty's Roller Derby dream.

Minty catches a strange boy hiding
Aug 13, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing
Minty lives in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. At least, they think they do. Then Minty discovers the Secret Tree, a hollow tree where people leave slips of paper with their secrets written on them. Along with a mysterious boy she meets in the woods, she tries to uncover who each of the secrets belong to. And she learns that there is much more to her neighbor's lives than she thought.

Great novel of friendship, summer and growing up. I loved it, and would recommend to students lo
Tenzin Pema
Nov 25, 2015 Tenzin Pema rated it it was amazing
The book The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford is an amazing book. After weird things start happening to her best friend, Minty Fresh suspects that someone is putting a curse on BFF. When she went through the woods near her house she found a slip of paper that said a secret. She tries to figure out what it means but cannot. Then, she finds Raymond, the boy that helps her throughout this whole investigation. That wasn’t the only secret there though. They find more secrets throughout their adventu ...more
Jun 16, 2015 M. rated it really liked it
Minty Mortimer is at loose ends the summer before 6th grade. Her best friend has moved on to a group of girls more interested in nail polish and social stuff while Minty is still devoted to skating and learning roller derby moves. And then one day she meets Raymond, a boy who lives on the other side of the woods; and together they discover the secret tree, a tree with a hollow trunk where neighborhood secrets are revealed--things like "Im so stoopid. Im affraid something is rong with my brane" a ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Tracie rated it really liked it
While visiting with her friend Paz one evening, Minty sees a flash in the woods and decides to investigate. Although she doesn't find anyone that night, she does find a secret tree where neighbors write down their secrets and put them inside a hole in the trunk. This is the beginning of an eventful summer for Minty and her neighborhood. They will question old friendships and forge new ones, find love and discover that we all have secrets. Recommended for those that loved the Fox Street books.
Feb 23, 2014 Ri rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Orr
Nov 25, 2014 Jennifer Orr rated it really liked it
This middle grade book was a surprise. Two unexpected friends spy on their close nit neighborhood as they try to figure out who's leaving secrets in the hollow of a tree in the woods. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but this book reminded me so much of Hitchcock's Rear Window. The hot summer evenings. The neighborhood backyards that all spill into each other like the courtyard in the movie. There's a touching scene where the friends watch as a lonely neighbor sobs in his kitchen. A ...more
Josh Bradford
Nov 16, 2015 Josh Bradford rated it really liked it
Joshua Bradford
Anna Cohen
ELA (D block)

This story takes place in a quiet little neighborhood where Minty a girl with a hope of becoming a roller derby player with her friend Paz, has no clue that something weird is happening in the neighborhood but she is going to be the one to figure it out with the help of mysterious acquaintance Raymond. As they uncover the secrets of the secret tree more questions are found then answered. This book hints spots of darkness, and sadness but is mostly m
Morninglight Mama
Feb 04, 2016 Morninglight Mama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, fiction
Don't let the cutesy cover lead you into thinking that this book is geared toward young independent readers, for beneath it actually lies a middle grade novel dealing with a range of fairly complex emotional issues. Though the story centers around Minty in the summer before she begins middle school, there are several layers of side stories related to her family, friends, and neighbors that add to the web of personal struggles. Some are universal experiences- the ups and downs of friendship, sibl ...more
Ryan S.
Mar 22, 2014 Ryan S. rated it liked it
"The Secret Tree," created by Natalie Standford, is a mysterious, a realistic fictional, and a "fantasy-ish" story in which the main character, Minty discovers the true meaning of friendship. It all began in a small neighborhood with a Man-bat to a Witch House, and now to a Secret Tree -- which is a tree that is said to hold secrets. Later, she discovers that a boy named Raymond were taking pictures of her in order to show people that he has friends. But, as they try to figure out who created th ...more
Although the protagonist in this book is a soon-to-be sixth grader, this book seems written for younger readers. It's a nice middle grade novel about friendship and keeping secrets.
Jan 23, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! The first few chapters were bland, but the rest is really interesting. I would recommend it to any one who likes stories about friendship.
Nicole Williams
Apr 14, 2016 Nicole Williams rated it really liked it
The secret tree is about a girl, (Minty) who wants to be a roller derby star. Her best friend, Pax, does also. One day, Minty goes off into the woods to find someone that was taking pictures of her. She stumbles along a opening that sounded like someone was mumbling words. Minty goes inside then to find a piece of paper stuck to a tree. I really like this book, but at points it gets a little repetitive. Also, it takes them a few chapters to actually start the story of the book. The first chapter ...more
Becca Ford
Dec 22, 2012 Becca Ford rated it it was amazing
honestly this is the best book i have ever read and i do not like to read so it is a great book
Nancy Day
Jun 25, 2012 Nancy Day rated it really liked it
My favorite middle grade novel since When You Reach Me.
Dec 10, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading, this book, I knew it was a good book as soon as I saw it didn't get to read it until now. The author's disciptions about the characters were very vivid, they express and show the age of the characters well. It was a little to childish for my age group butI still enjoyed the story.It is a good mysterious book for kids, not too mysterous that it's scary, but just right to keep the reader engaged.The author is very creative about the ending but if she went into a bit more ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Linnea rated it it was amazing
genre: realistic fiction/ mystery

summary: Minty and Paz have been friends forever. This summer marks their last a 'little kids' as they get ready to face middle school next year. Minty doesn't want things to change but Paz begins to worry about acting grown-up and hanging out with older girls. While feeling abandoned Minty wanders the neighborhood and discovers a secret tree. Secret Trees as said to hold the souls of angry spirits. Feeding them secrets is the only way to keep them satisfied. He
Becky B
It's summer break, and Minty would like nothing better than to spend the whole summer working on her roller-derby skills with her best friend Paz. But a flash in the woods leads her to an old tree that harbors secrets. The only other one who seems to know about the tree is a strange boy named Raymond who lives in the model house on the other side of the woods. In between trying to figure out what's going on with Paz and others in the neighborhood, Minty and Raymond spend the summer trying to mat ...more
In a small neighbourhood are various mysteries, from a Man-bat to a Witch House. And now added to that, is a Secret Tree. What is a Secret Tree? Well a tree where you can put in your secret and it will be eaten by a ghost, well that is the story that is being told.

Minty was a wonderful character, I really liked her, though I also felt sad for her. Growing up is no fun. Her best friend Paz leaves her for another friend (who for most book was a total (sorry for the language) bitch). Luckily Minty
Carol Royce Owen
Jul 29, 2013 Carol Royce Owen rated it really liked it
Minty and her best friend Pax have one dream - to rule the roller derby rink. But dreams can change when you are entering middle school and friendships can undergo changes, and Minty is finding that out the hard way. But she's also finding out there is mystery all around her, and that starts when she spots a flash in the woods near her house and discovers it is from the camera of a boy taking their picture. Chasing the boy she is lead to a mysterious tree in the woods and inside the tree is a se ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, juvenile
Childhood is not always the idyllic existence we adults seem to remember from our romanticized youths. Sometimes it's hard and downright heartbreaking, as Minty Fresh (Araminta's roller derby name) is discovering one eventful summer. She loses and regains her best friend, befriends an "invisible" boy, and learns that everyone - even obnoxious older sisters and mean boys - has secrets. "They all have their secrets, I thought. Each person's real life is a mystery." To her credit, this knowledge ma ...more
Oct 16, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it
In a small town where everyone knows everyone, secrets are hard to keep - especially when everyone in town shares their secrets with "Crazy Ike" and the secret tree. At the beginning of the summer, all Minty and Paz want are to become roller derby stars. But Minty's life begins to change the moment she sees the strange boy taking pictures of them from the woods. Who is he? Is he the one who has been stealing small items from the neighborhood. And then she sees the first secret that was left in t ...more
Elizabeth K.
Jul 06, 2012 Elizabeth K. rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-new-reads
This was cute, and I agree with something I read in a review -- this is a classic "kids in the neighborhood during summer vacation" story. Minty (short for Araminta which makes me wonder if Natalie Standiford is a Carol Ryrie Brink fan) is 11 and looking forward to a summer of practicing roller derby moves with her best friend, Paz, and generally hanging out with the kids in the neighborhood. As these things tend to go in books like this, suddenly it seems that she and her friend aren't always o ...more
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Audience 5 13 Jun 08, 2014 04:03PM  
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Natalie Standiford, author of "How to Say Goodbye in Robot," "Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters," "The Secret Tree," "Switched at Birthday," "The Boy on the Bridge," and "The Only Girl in School," has written picture books, nonfiction, chapter books, teen novels, an entry in the 39 Clues series, and even horror novels for young adults. Standiford also plays bass in the rock band Tiger Beat, with ...more
More about Natalie Standiford...

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“You're a big sister?' I was shocked. She seemed so good-natured and compassionate.” 11 likes
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