cover image Figure It Out, Henri Weldon

Figure It Out, Henri Weldon

Tanita S. Davis. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-314357-9

Seventh grader Henri Weldon is determined to start the new school year on a high note, though she wishes her older sister Katherine were more supportive. As the two start classes, Katherine refuses to answer Henri’s questions about what to expect, won’t sit with her at lunch, and treats her as a “problem to be solved.” Henri’s unnamed learning disability, which reads as similar to dyscalculia, often leaves her feeling disconnected from her classmates, so she’s heartened when she meets friendly Vinnie Morgan, a foster kid who later becomes her peer tutor. The support Henri receives from her committed teachers and Vinnie allow Henri to flourish, but when she tells her parents she wants to try out for soccer, her mother worries about whether Henri can juggle everything at once. Henri’s struggles with her learning disability, her feeling overwhelmed with her increasingly busy life, and her contentious relationship with Katherine are matter-of-factly portrayed via a complex character who is not singularly defined by her personal challenges. In this hopeful, well-paced volume, Davis (Partly Cloudy) centers accommodation, community, and understanding. The Weldons are Black; supporting characters are racially diverse. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)