Monday, August 10, 2009

Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell

Sahara is in fifth grade...again. Her mother insisted that Sahara be removed from the special education program and put in a regular classroom. Her mom sees Sahara reading and writing all the time at home, but at school she won't do her work. Sahara knows where her work goes - into her file in the counselor's office. The file that tells everyone who she is. But Sahara knows she is more.

Told in beautifully written first person, Sahara is painfully aware of why she does what she does. She wants to be a writer - knows she will be a writer. But she won't write. Not for school. But then Miss Pointy, her new teacher arrives. This woman is not the average teacher, and good thing. She gives Sahara and her classmates journals and asks them to write in them every day. This is the beginning of Sahara's journey.

I loved this story. Sahara shows that really can't know what is going on in someone's head. Her mother has no idea what is holding her child back and is constantly angry at her. Sahara isn't willing to let anyone into her secret life, her writer's life - it hurts too much. I appreciate stories about good teachers, about teachers who do things in new ways and truly care about their students. I will give this one to my niece some day. She'll like it.

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