Published by Macmillan on May 13th 2014
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Annika Riz loves math more than anything, so when she hears about a sudoku contest at the local public library, she is determined to win it—maybe then her friends Kelsey Green and Izzy Barr will see that math is just as cool as reading and running. When the school carnival, the biggest fundraiser of the year, comes around, Annika realizes her class booth is losing money by selling their lemonade too cheaply. Annika embraces her math skills, saves the day, and shows her friends that math can be useful and even a bit of fun, too.
Annika Riz is a math whiz, only her friends cannot stand math class. When a sudoku contest comes to the library, she knows that she can prove to her friends that math can be cool if she wins. I completely connected with Annika, having loved math when I was in elementary and middle school. I also grew up with a math family, only not to the extreme of having numerical decorations all over her house. I love the mix of baking and how it connects to math in this story. I think anyone who has messed up a batch of cookies will laugh at the several attempts the girls make at making them for their school carnival.
I also love the point the teacher makes towards the end of the book, that everyone shows their enthusiasm in different ways. I think this relates to every part of the story as Annika laments that her friends don’t appreciate the thing she loves as much as she does. Even worse, they dread learning math.
One of my other favorite parts of this book was when Annika tried to teach her dog how to count with the aide of dog treats. She often gave him the reward even when he did not bark or tap his paw the correct amount of times. Overall, I really loved this story and I think young readers will relate to their own favorite topic of learning, even if it’s not math.
The Franklin School Friends is definitely a series I will be recommending to my 3rd graders.
Claudia Mills is the acclaimed author of fifty early-chapter and middle-grade books, including 7 x 9 = Trouble!, How Oliver Olson Changed the World, and Zero Tolerance. Claudia was a professor of philosophy for over twenty years at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she received many teaching awards, before leaving the university to write full time. She has two sons. To learn more, visit her website at claudiamillsauthor.com.
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