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Sahara Special

by Esme Raji Codell

ISBN 0786807938 / 9780786807932 / 0-7868-0793-8
Publisher Hyperion Books for Children
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Esmé Raji Codell, author of the bestselling Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year, makes her children's book debut with the warm, funny novel Sahara Special. "Can't a woman get a divorce without her kid going special ed on her?" This is the question Sahara's mother asks her daughter after a huge stack of letters that she'd written to her dad (but never mailed) falls out of her locker and on to her teacher's feet. When those letters are confiscated and locked up in the school counselor's filing cabinet, Sahara decides she will stop supplying "evidence" to the school; she stops doing her assignments, and is subsequently paired up with a Special Needs teacher, a fate equivalent to being "the street person of a school." What no one knows is that the newly dubbed "Sahara Special" is really "Sahara Jones, Secret Writer," a girl who hides her Heart-Wrenching Life Story and Amazing Adventures behind a public library shelf. No one, that is, until her show-stealing, deliciously unorthodox fifth-grade teacher Madame Poitier (Miss Pointy) arrives on the scene to remind her, so simply, that "a writer writes." Any child with a secret self (every child) will revel in Sahara's clear-sighted observations and sense of humor about a world that doesn't see who she really is. As in Sharon Creech's Love That Dog, readers will meet a likeable, difficult-at-first student and an extraordinary teacher who transforms lives by sharing her love of story and words. Highly recommended. (Ages 9 to 11) --Karin Snelson [via]