Solving for M by Jennifer Swender Publication Day ~ 5-28-19 ~ Review by Returning Guest Blogger Katy Schuessler @jenniferswender

When Mika starts fifth grade at the middle school, her neat life gets messy. Separated from old friends and starting new classes, Mika is far from her comfort zone. And math class is the most confusing of all, especially when her teacher Mr. Vann assigns math journals. Art in math? Who’s ever heard of such a thing? 

But when challenges arise at home, Mika realizes there are no easy answers. Maybe, with some help from friends, family, and one unique teacher, a math journal can help her work out problems, and not just the math ones. 

Debut author Jennifer Swender delivers poignant prose and illustrator Jennifer Naalchigar brings Mika’s journal to life in this perfect equation of honesty plus hope that adds up to a heartwarming coming-of-age story.

Solving for M is about a young girl named Mika. She just started fifth grade and life is getting a lot more interesting. Middle school is so different from fourth grade, her best friend is in another Pod and has a whole new “cooler” set of friends, and her math teacher might just be crazy.

To make matters worse, her mom found this weird bump on her leg and has to go to the hospital. Will she ever figure out middle school? Will she be able to make new friends? Will life get easier for Mika? And the most important question, will her mom be ok?

I liked this book a lot. It was so real. My dad had cancer when I was in second grade and it was really scary. I felt like Mika did: terrified. Luckily, he’s ok now, but it was one of the scariest times of my life. I related to so many things that Mika went through, like waiting to see if my dad’s treatment worked.  

I think starting a new school is always hard. When I was in
fourth grade, I didn’t know anyone in my class at the beginning of the year. However, by the end of the year, I had two great friends.  Mika felt lonely and scared, just like I had. I loved that I could relate to Mika, having gone through many of the things she went through. That’s why I love this book and I would definitely recommend that you read it.   

Jennifer Swender is a graduate of Yale University and received her master’s from Teachers College at Columbia University. Like Mr. Vann, Jennifer was also a teacher. She has worked in New York City and Houston public schools and is a Teach for America alumna. She now works and lives with her husband, Paul DeBois Jacobs, in Amherst, Massachusetts. 

Amazon ~ Thriftbooks ~ Kobo

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