Welcome Back, Maple Mehta-Cohen

Kate McGovern
Maple is in fifth grade--again. Now everyone will find out she struggles with reading--or will they? An engaging read for anyone who has ever felt different. Maple Mehta-Cohen has been keeping a secret: she can't read all that well. She has an impressive vocabulary and loves dictating stories into her recorder--especially the adventures of a daring sleuth who's half Indian and half Jewish like Maple herself--but words on the page just don't seem to make sense to her. Despite all Maple's clever tricks to hide her troubles with reading, her teacher is on to her, and now Maple has to repeat fifth grade. Maple is devastated--what will her friends think? Will they forget about her? She uses her storytelling skills to convince her classmates that she's staying back as a special teacher's assistant (because of budget cuts, you know). But as Maple navigates the loss of old friendships, the possibility of new ones, and facing her reading challenges head-on, her deception becomes harder to keep up. Can Maple begin to recognize her own strengths, and to love herself--and her brain--just the way she is? Readers who have faced their own trials with school and friendships will enjoy this heartwarming story and its bright, creative heroine.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2021-11-22

Maple Mehta-Cohen has tried all the clever tricks to keep her big secret, a secret. She has an impressive vocabulary, loves telling stories into her recorder - especially the adventures of a daring young detective who is half Indian and half Jewish like herself, and she uses pictures to figure out context. But words on the page just don't seem to make sense to her... and her teacher is on to her.

 

Now, Maple has to repeat fifth grade again, and she is devastated! What will her friends think? Will they forget about her and leave her in the dust? She tells her new classmates she got held back as a special teacher's assistant, but how long with her storytelling skills carry her before she must face the truth - that she has her own strengths and she needs to love herself, including her brain, just the way she is.

 

This book is super adorable and I really enjoyed Maple as the voice of the main character. She is bright and brilliant, creative, and strong. It's been quite a few years, but I believe Kate McGovern did a wonderful job at capturing what it's like to be a fifth grader.

 

The family dynamic of the Mehta-Cohen household is nice to see as well. Both of Maple's parents are artists of sorts and she's got a baby brother she is still kind of getting used to. Her parents are both super supportive of who Maple is and what she is interested in - they even got her a tape recorder to tell her stories into!

 

McGovern tackles some difficult issues: dyslexia, bullying, repeating a grade, and loving oneself. She even gives examples of empathy, respect, and patience as well. McGovern does a fine job at depicting young children with reading challenges and really captures the stigma attached to struggling readers.

 

This book will appeal to young readers who have faced their own trials with school and friendships, show empathy for peers who may or may not be struggling with a learning disability, and show those who do, that they're not alone.

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@ahelms
@ahelms completed #welcomebackmaple... on 2021-11-19
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@ahelms began #welcomebackmaple... on 2021-11-18