Subtitle When trying to fit in leaves you in a spin
Turning Cartwheels tells the story of Emma’s desperation to join queen bee Carly’s Cartwheel Club, who show off their acrobatic tricks in the playground at lunchtime. Week after week Emma lines up for a try-out, only to be told by Carly that she hasn’t made the cut. When Emma is finally accepted, she finds that Carly’s rules and requirements take all the joy out of cartwheeling, and that being part of the gang isn’t as awesome as she expected.
The book explores themes of determination, persistence and self-confidence, but has a central focus on bullying — in particular, the subtle, underhanded social bullying often experienced by primary school-aged girls. The character of Carly represents the ‘frenemy’ that many young girls encounter — a strong, popular girl who seems to be their friend, but whose behaviour is often actually manipulative and mean.
While girls often gravitate towards ‘frenemies’, preferring to stay on their good side and remain part of their social group, Turning Cartwheels introduces the idea that there are alternatives, and that children should choose their friends based on kindness, and having fun together. A sensitive and compassionate guide to finding true friendship, this story will help any young person struggling to find friends who make them feel like they belong.