When she’s twisting backward and flipping forward on the balance beam, Claire feels on top of the world. As the best gymnast on her school team, it’s always a good time for her. Unfortunately, reading isn’t quite as easy. The words swirl and shuffle, and she can never seem to recognize them. When her principal wants to evaluate her for dyslexia, Claire’s mom refuses, protesting against wanting her child to be labeled. But how can Claire get help if she isn’t diagnosed as dyslexic?
Maple’s dreams of going to middle school with her best friends come crashing down when she’s held back in the fifth grade because she can’t read. Maple is Indian and Jewish (Hin-Jew as she calls herself) and constantly feels caught in between — never fully belonging on one side. On top of that, Maple gets caught in a web of lies when she tells a new fifth grader that she’s only in the class to support the new kids — and not because she’s a repeater. It doesn’t help that her friends Marigold and Aislin totally dump her because she didn’t move on to a new class with them. Can Maple find her place in the world?
Today’s pick is Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s bestselling middle grade novel, Fish in a Tree. The book is the story of young Ally, a girl with dyslexia, and it highlights the importance of teachers who truly care.
The Unteachables are a group of misfits deemed so hopeless (academically and in terms of behavior) that the school has isolated them in a class of their own. New student Kiana accidentally becomes the newest member of the class and stays — joining Parker, who still can’t read; Aldo, who has anger issues; Elaine (rhymes with pain), and sleepy Rahim whose dad’s band practices all night in their garage.