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|Solving for M|
Author: Swender, Jennifer
Shortly after starting fifth grade, Mika learns that her mother has cancer and uses her math notebook to explore the new changes in her life.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 502147
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 77184
School Library Journal (00/04/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/04/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/01/2019 An artistic girl uses her math journal to come to terms with her mother’s illness in this character-driven middle-grade novel. Mika isn’t so sure about middle school. She is in a different pod than her former best friend, and her eccentric math teacher makes his students keep journals, where they draw creative solutions to show their thought processes instead of simply answering problems. When Mika’s mom is diagnosed with melanoma, math class becomes Mika’s refuge. She finds new best friends in her classmates (science-loving Dee Dee and kind Chelsea) and uses her math journal to work through her anxieties about her mom’s illness, medications, and uncertain recovery. Swender fills Mika’s journey with quiet hope and gradual adjustments. Mika’s math-journal entries, featuring playful, doodle-like figures and words in childlike handwriting, liven up the story and provide insight into Mika’s internal life. There are also plenty of supportive women characters who help Mika carry on, such as her grandmother, her dad’s new wife, and her mom’s best friend. A quiet but creative story about accepting change and uncertainty. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2019 Gr 4–7—Math has applications and relevance to real life, as this book shows through the experiences of the artistic-minded and sensitive fifth-grader Mika, who fills the math journal she's been assigned by her kooky math teacher with illustrations relating to her feelings around her divorced mother's ongoing skin cancer treatment. These illustrations alternate with chapters written in Mika's vulnerable and sincere first-person voice. Most scenes occur either in math class or at home, each centered around basic pre-algebraic concepts: order of operations, estimation, variables, sets, etc. Mika's growth is slow and steady as she makes new friends, acclimates to a new normal, and learns to tell her mother she still needs her. Mika, her family, and all characters but one are white, living in upper–middle class upstate New York. VERDICT What some may see as a transparent attempt to foist math review on unsuspecting middle grade readers, others will enjoy as a sad yet sweet character-driven novel not unlike those of Lisa Graff or Julie Sternberg, with a focus on having a parent with cancer.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.