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McKenna (American Girl of the Year)

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  849 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Ten-year-old McKenna has always been a good student-and great at gymnastics. So when her grades suddenly begin to fall, her teacher suggests a little extra help from a tutor. McKenna is horrified until she meets her tutor, Josie, a super-confident girl who also happens to be in a wheelchair. Josie encourages McKenna to focus on her strengths and work toward her goals one d ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by American Girl Publishing Inc (first published December 2011)
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Nov 14, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 5th grade girls
Shelves: books-i-own
I thought this was a great book, about a girl who dose gymnastics, She isn' t doing so well at school so she gets tutored. She broke her leg an has to stop gymnastics fir a while. Will her leg get better do she can get onto the competitive team or will she have to wait? Will she get better at school? Read the book to find out . It is an realistic fiction, it's also an easy read.
Alyssa Hanks
Jan 28, 2016 Alyssa Hanks rated it it was amazing
The book McKenna by Mary Casanova is about a young gymnast who is in the fourth grade. McKenna loves gymnastics, she is working towards making the competitive team. Her whole life is about gymnastics at this point, causing her to fall behind in school. Her teacher Mr.Wu notices this, and decides she needs a tutor. At first McKenna did not like the idea of having a tutor and kept it a secret from all her friends and teammates. When people she knew walked into the library which is where she studi ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Xyra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any girl.
I really like the American Girl books. If I were the right age bracket I'd probably give 5 stars; but where I am I've seen a few similar situations that don't resovle quite as nicely.
Mckenna deals with a lot in these pages: not getting what she wants, overcoming embarrassment, dealing with her own and other's jealousies, prejudice, poor sportsmanship, deception, and physical injury. She doesn't do it alone; she has many coaches.
Even I learned a bit from this story. Josie and McKenna reminded me
Christine Marie
Jan 20, 2012 Christine Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: American Girl, gymnastics, and school lover
Recommended to Christine by: Me
I am quite a few years older than McKenna, yet I could relate immensely to her story. When I was her age, and younger, I did gymnastics, too. I loved her telling of her days there, and thought there was just enough of that in book. I could also relate to her stories with homework, staying up late to finish an assignment, using classical music to focus, trying hard to make school work,persevering, etc. I also liked her breathing gray sky credo a lot. I used it at school and at home. I tell myself ...more
Oct 21, 2014 Kaitlynn rated it it was amazing
The book McKenna written by Mary Casanova resemkbles a young girl who wants to acheive in gymnastics, but has poor gradses so her parents do not allow her too so her grades will go up and she gets an injury on this journey. Its writing is effecting and moving because it shows you that it is important to be safe and happy with what you have. This book is part of a series and I may continue to read the series, but I am not 100% sure. If you like gymnastics you would like this book and also if you ...more
The writing is decent. Sometimes it doesn't sound like a ten-year-old ("mink brown hair"). Mostly though it's not too bad. I liked McKenna's family. They're colorful and warm and loving.

The friend characters are a bit stereotypical but I sense a backstory for Toulane that isn't coming through in this first book.

The illustrations are dreadful. McKenna looks different in every picture and Toulane looks about 19.

If you like the GOTY books you'll probably like McKenna. I'm not wildly enthusiastic
Megan M.
Feb 02, 2013 Megan M. rated it it was amazing
this is n expiring book!!! possibly the best book ive read so far.!!!!! its about a girl named mckenna. she loves gymnastics and shes shooting for the cometitive team and is also falling behind in school. her parents tell her to get a tuter. She gets a tutor her name is julie. they do lots of things together they went together on vacation and get gifts for each other but, mckenna is afraid to tell her friends she has a tutor. her friends find out and she looses focus on the day of her competitio ...more
Jan 27, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: abigail-choice
A great story about choices a child makes as they grow up. Well done!
Oct 10, 2014 Lucy rated it really liked it
It was good but I didn't like it that much. You should see the movie! It's really good.
Dec 07, 2016 Olivia rated it really liked it
I think this book is very good. It could be better but overall it is a great book. It teaches important lessons and has inspired me to do gymnastics. Any girl ages 7-12 would enjoy this book.
I would recommend this book to children 9 and up.
Katie Fitzgerald
This is a review of both books in the McKenna series.

American Girl’s Girl of the Year 2012 is McKenna Brooks. In addition to a doll, which can be purchased on the American Girl website, there are also two books about this character: McKenna and McKenna, Ready to Fly! Both books are set in Seattle, Washington, and their storylines revolve around McKenna's struggles balancing her strong interest in gymnastics with the rest of her life, including friendships, family, and school.

In McKenna, McKenna'
Cheryl Gatling
My daughter loves her new McKenna doll. The book that came with her, not so much. When we read a book together that fascinates her, she prods me. "Can we read? Can we read?" With McKenna, I ended up prodding her. It's a sweet little story. McKenna loves gymnastics, but is falling behind at school, so she gets a tutor, who happens to be an older girl in a wheelchair. McKenna is too embarrassed to tell her friends, so when they find out, it's awkward. I liked McKenna's supportive family. Her mom, ...more
Jul 20, 2013 Carolyn rated it it was ok
Sarah is now very into American Girl dolls. And listening to me read the books aloud. We have read the Kitt Kittridge series and now these two. My knowledge of the books are based on that somewhat small sample of AG books (there are quite a few). The Kitt books I loved. Good writing, historic details about the Depression, character building problems (Kitt is concerned about helping the family make it financially). The "girl of the year" books don't offer the historical piece because they are cur ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Cara rated it really liked it
This book is about a girl who's a fantastic gymnast but struggling in school. All she cares about is gymnastics. She's good at it, she loves it, and she wants to focus on that. But her parents insist that she put school first. They even make her get a tutor, which she finds completely mortifying.

As silly as this sounds, when I read this, I was having much the same problem in my life. All I cared about was my own projects, but I knew I should be focusing on client work.

(view spoiler)
Nov 13, 2016 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Original Review From 2012:
Even though this is more of a children's book, I really enjoyed it! McKenna is a girl who loves gymnastics but has fallen behind in school, so she has to get a tutor to help her catch up on her 4th-grade reading skills. Her tutor, Josie, is handicapped, but she is super smart and becomes one of Mckenna's most loyal and best friends. The American Girl stories all have great role models and important messages, some things that are a little harder to find in some of our me
Callie Stillion
Mar 05, 2014 Callie Stillion rated it really liked it
Oh no! McKenna`s life is for gymnastics. But when she hears about getting a tutor, she tries to keep it a secret. But when her best friend, Toulane asks what she`s being after school, McKenna makes an excuse. She says that she`s getting more gymnastics coaching, but Toulane says back, 'Just so you can get ahead of us! How mean!' But one day she and Sierra come into the library, and they find McKenna getting tutored. Toulane says, 'You lied! I`m hurt!' Then she and Sierra run off. But when they a ...more
Cassy J.
Nov 09, 2012 Cassy J. rated it it was amazing
I thought it was a very good book. it was basically about a girl whos hopes and dreams was to become a pro. gymnast. she has been struggling in school and her parents begin to decide that the reason she is failing is becuase gymnastics is in her way. she goes through many obsatcles and issues throughout this book and ends up finding out that life is not always abot gymnastics. After getting tutured and going through much help, she finally was doing better and was ready to make it to the top. i w ...more
Sam T
Apr 15, 2016 Sam T added it
I read McKenna by Mary Canasova. This is about a fourth grader who has two younger sisters. As well, McKenna loves gymnastics and is struggling with school.

Later in the book McKenna gets a 6 grade student that tutors her on the last 30 minutes of school on Monday and Wednesday. Josie is a nice girl who happens to be in a wheelchair. As well, she is McKenna's tutor. The two girls become good friends and McKenna makes a lot of improvement in school and at gymnastics.

I liked this book I think a lo
Feb 12, 2013 Tarissa rated it really liked it
McKenna is another great story from the American Girl series!

Since McKenna is a gymnast, many terms about gymnastics are used, which I found interesting. It helped add fine details to the story. Also, I enjoyed reading about Josie, a girl who uses a wheelchair to get around---the part she contributes to the story is quite inspiring. The full-page illustrations are neat, clean, & crisp! I thought the style of the pictures flowed well with the style of writing. Throughout the story, many books
Felicity The Magnificent
Jul 14, 2012 Felicity The Magnificent rated it it was amazing
I liked this book because there was an American Girl named McKenna. She was just starting fourth grade, and she went to gymnastics. She wasn't finishing her schoolwork on time, and so she had to bring it home and do it. She had to have a tutor. McKenna's tutors name was Josie. One day when they were on vacation, McKenna finally finished her schoolwork on time. In gymnastics, they were doing a little show, and McKenna broke her leg. -by Felicity
Jan 06, 2015 Reagan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-girl
McKenna wants to be on the competitive team for gymnastics, but it's so hard! But, when McKenna has an accident (she breaks her ankle) at gymnastics she is bumped out of gymnastics for a while.
It's surprising to hear that she still makes it to the competitive team!
One of the most embarrassing parts for McKenna in this book was when McKenna had a tutor!

I love this book. It is the best book in the world! I even watched the movie of McKenna!
Jul 10, 2012 Alyssa rated it really liked it
I read this to preview whether it's a good book to read to Cori (my 4 year old). Nope. It's definitely for the 3rd or 4th grade crowd. As far as books aimed at 9 year olds go, it was pretty good. I liked the focus of the book was on McKenna's struggle with learning to balance things in her life (gymnastics and school). I think it's a great theme for children (and probably some adults). The writing was very readable and enjoyable.
Kristine Hansen
Feb 19, 2014 Kristine Hansen rated it really liked it
McKenna is an aspiring gymnast who is getting somewhat derailed from her dreams because of....schoolwork!

This is a good story tackling a problem that just about every kid goes through at some point - a struggle with a subject at school. How it's handled is interesting and fun to read instead of being one of those "problem books" that is without heart. This is a book I'd give to a struggling reader to enjoy.
Fernanda Nicole
Mar 03, 2016 Fernanda Nicole rated it really liked it
It's about a girl that loved gymnastics and one day she was eating dinner and her dad told her if she wants to be in gymnastics she needs to do school first. Mr.Wu gave her a book she started reading and she went to Mr.Wu desk. Mr.Wu said now i know why your are having troble why she said it's reading comprehension. then few weeks later she was very good at reading and then gymnastics was not that important.
Nov 15, 2013 Sydney rated it it was amazing
it is about McKenna is struggling in school so she has to tutor.but her friend toulan wants to know why she gets to leave school early then McKenna blurts out a lie so Toulan thinks she has a secret gymnastic coach then Toulan figures out she needs a tutor and gets mad at her for telling a lie to her so McKenna makes it up to her.
Madison Gorton
Apr 21, 2012 Madison Gorton rated it it was amazing
This book is based off the newest american girl doll, McKenna. McKenna is a gymnast and is in school. McKenna starts to have horrible grades in school and she has to get a tudor. Her tudor is in a wheelchair and she feels embarrassed. Her parents say she has to quit gymnastics and she is very sad. The end.... WELL YOU WILL HAVE TO READ IT TO SEE!!!!!
Oct 12, 2014 PotterDollies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is well-written and intriguing. Unlike some American Girl books, the quality of the writing was spectacular. It is a very interesting storyline. Also, it is nice to have a dyslexic American Girl. McKenna struggles with reading comprehension, which is relatable to many girls her age. Overall, this is a very good book, as is the second book of the series.
Rosaleen Leclair
Jan 16, 2013 Rosaleen Leclair rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lauren-guerra
I loved this book! I love all of the American Girl Doll books,but this was by far the best one. You can really imagine McKenna and picture all of the characters. This book made me want to read more and more,which I did. It made me so excited that there is a series and that I am able to continue to learn more about Mckenna!
Jan 09, 2016 M rated it really liked it
I thought Mckenna was a great book. It's perfect for any girl struggling with school, peer pressure, family and sports. I think girls can really relate to the struggles of growing up. The only part I wasn't to fond of was all the drama. I'm definatly looking forward to the second one.
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Mary Casanova is an award-winning children's author of novels and picture books. Many of her books stem from her life on the Minnesota-Canadian border; yet some of her stories have taken her as far away as France, Norway, and Belize for research. Whatever the setting for her books, Casanova writes stories that matter--and stories that kids can't put down.

Her book awards include: American Library A
More about Mary Casanova...

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