Summary: Twisting Backward Flipping Forward
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?
These days I’m all about unique stories with fresh angles and I enjoyed this one for several reasons. First, this book is short and in verse. It also has illustrations on every other page, which makes it a good pick for younger readers. The storytelling and illustrations vividly bring Claire’s struggle with words to life and evoke empathy in the reader.
When Claire finally gets an inkling that she could be dyslexic (and not just unintelligent, as she thinks of herself), I found her mother’s reaction a surprising twist.
Claire’s mom is attentive but she and Claire’s dad (both of whom are recently divorced) have exempted her from standardized testing because they just want her to focus on learning. Hence, how she’s avoided detection until fifth grade. Now, she actively protests Claire’s getting tested and it’s heartwarming (and in turns heartbreaking) to see Claire advocate for herself.
Overall: Twisting Backward Flipping Forward
Twisting Backward Flipping Forward is a compelling, eye-opening, and empowering verse novel about dyslexia and gymnastics. Enriched with illustrations, this book will appeal to younger readers and anyone who enjoys gymnastics and middle grade sports books. I love that it’s under 200 pages long and features such a bright young protagonist. Definitely recommend!