Sahara Special written by Esme Raji Codell
Sahara Special is the story of a girl who is destined to be a writer. She is an avid reader, spending Saturday mornings at the Public Library. Sahara is writing a story whose pages she tucks in on a shelf behind some books in the stacks at the Library. She also writes letters to her father who left Sahara and her mother, letters that are taken by a teacher and end up in the school conselor's files. Sahara is put into a special needs program as a result, until her mother gets her out of it. She has to do Fifth grade over again. This turns out to be a good thing. The new Fifth Grade teacher is very different from those Sahara, or the other students, have encountered in the past. Her name is Madame Poitier, but she tells the students in her class to call her Miss Pointy. A very different educational experience awaits Sahara. She now has a teacher who puts the student's needs first, who attempts to help Sahara and her classmates learn to think and make decisions. Sahara finally has someone, besides her mother, who helps her find herself, to let go of past disappointments and develop her talents.
This story takes place in Chicago. It is inspirational for both students and teachers. Every child should encounter a "Miss Pointy" during Fifth or Sixth grades. An uplifting look at the educational process as it should be.