A high-energy novel in verse starring a fifth grader who is almost as devoted to competitive gymnastics as she is to hiding her poor reading skills. What happens when Claire’s secret starts unraveling?
Claire is by far the best gymnast on her team, and she’s well on her way to qualifying for the state championships. The gym is where Claire shines. But at school, she’s known as a troublemaker. She seems to spend more time in the office than in class—which is fine with her since it enables her to hide the fact that she can’t read. She has never been able to make sense of the wobbling jumble of letters on a page. No one except her BFF knows.
But when a sympathetic principal wonders if Claire is acting out because she’s dyslexic, her mother balks. She’s afraid Claire will be labeled “stupid” and refuses testing. Claire has always assumed she’s dumb; she never imagined her reading problem could have a solution. Is she strong enough to take on both her reading challenges and her mother’s denial? Is it worth jeopardizing her spot in qualifiers?
Told in clear and poignant verse and featuring black and white illustrations, Claire’s struggle with something that seems to come easily to everyone else will resonate with readers and have them cheering her on.
About the Author
Alma Fullerton couldn’t read until she was in the fourth grade. Today she works with students who have learning disabilities. She is the author of several middle grade and young adult novels that garnered acclaim and awards in her native Canada. Alma is also the author/illustrator of several picture books. She is on faculty with the Highlights Foundation for teaching novel in verse writing and is an RA for SCBWI’s Canada East region.
Sarah Mensinga has worked in the arts since 2000 and is known for her character designs. She has contributed to a variety of films, television shows, and apps, and her work has been featured in comic anthologies. She is also the author/illustrator of a picture book. Originally from Canada, Sarah now lives in Texas with her family.
Gymnasts and fans of gymnastics
Kids who struggle with reading and/or learning with traditional teaching methods
Readers who love novels in verse
★ "Fullerton (No More Plastic) authentically and compassionately portrays cued-white fifth grader Claire's experience with dyslexia in this easily digestible verse novel. . . . Printed in a typeface formatted for those with reading challenges, Fullerton's flowing verse adeptly captures what dyslexia is like for Claire alongside her frustration around convincing her mother that she's trying hard but needs assistance. This insightful story carries a strong message for teachers, caregivers, and children alike, and Mensinga's emotive illustrations provide depth throughout."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"An authentic portrayal of children with learning disabilities. Readers will empathize with Claire as she struggles with feeling 'stupid' and will support her journey. The quick-moving plot comes with a satisfying ending, and the free-verse narrative provides plenty of helpful white space for reluctant readers."—School Library Journal
"Designed with accessibility in mind (the typeface is meant to be easily decoded), the text stresses that learning disabilities are in no way a bad thing. Fullerton offers readers a glimpse into what it's like to try to read with difficulties. . . . A positive representation of perseverance."—Kirkus Reviews "An excellent choice for both beginning chapter book readers and reluctant readers."—School Library Connection
"Young readers will be cheering for Claire from beginning to end. Teachers and parents will have much to learn from her."--Helen Frost, acclaimed author of Hidden, Blue Daisy,and All He Knew
"Claire is such an easy character to root for as she shares her self-doubts so honestly and then faces them so courageously."--Claudia Mills, author of The Lost Language "I loved this story of determination and grit! Claire doesn't back away from challenges in the gym, the classroom, or at home. Instead, she'll twist, turn, tumble, spring, and spin forwards and backwards until she finds her way through."--Christina Uss, author of The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle
"In this compact novel in verse, you’ll root for Claire the whole way through and (spoiler alert): she sticks the landing."--Audrey Vernick, After the Worst Thing Happens, Water Balloon, and many other books for young readers