Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Review: Nina Soni, Former Best Friend

Title: Nina Soni, Former Best Friend
Author: Kashmira Sheth
Illustrator: Jenn Kocsmiersky
Publisher: Peachtree
Pages: 128
Availability: October 1, 2019
Review copy: ARC via publisher

Summary: The first title in a new series featuring a lovable, distractible Indian-American girl and her family and friends. Nina tried as hard as she could, but still somehow she forgot about her school project. Fortunately, a class lesson about Alexander Fleming suggests how she might make a great discovery--and thus a great project! But with little sister Kavita's birthday party right around the corner, and her longtime friendship with Jay on the rocks, Nina has a lot to keep track of.

Readers are sure to relate to author Kashmira Sheth's endearing Nina Soni and her slightly scatter-brained efforts to manage her life with lists, definitions, and real-life math problems.

Reasons to love Nina Soni:

1. She has a great sense of humor
2. She has unique ideas
3. She talks with her hands--mostly because she's passionate about things
4. She cares a lot about her family and her best friend
5. She's an excellent list maker

Nina Soni has a friendship she's worried about and a homework project that she simply must finish so her stress level is up a bit. Even under pressure though, she's a lot of fun. These are types of problems many readers will have experienced. Young people are also likely to enjoy her somewhat bouncy conversational style.

Teachers will want to seek out this first book in the Nina Soni series. The school project is a personal narrative and teachers are always looking for literature that will provide models for that. This story even models what could work for such an assignment. It's also a fantastic example of how versatile and helpful lists can be. This would be a great read aloud in the lower grades. This was a quick read that will be excellent for readers looking for an amusing chapter book that doesn't have high-stakes. 

Recommendation: Nina Soni and her escapades will be the perfect stories to hand to those looking for early chapter books that are fun and engaging. I'd recommend this as a read aloud and as independent reading for those starting to read short chapter books.

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