Inside flap copy:

There are two files on Sahara Jones. The one the school counselor keeps is evidence that she's a fifth grader who needs special education. The other is the book Sahara is secretly writing, her Heart Wrenching Life Story and Amazing Adventures.

The latest chapter in her book unfolds when her mother insists that she be taken out of special ed. So Sahara is facing fifth grade in the regular classroom, again. But why even try to do the work, Sahara wonders, if everything she does just winds up in the counselor's file?

Enter Miss Pointy, the new fifth-grade teacher. With her eggplant colored lipstick and strange subjects such as "Puzzling" and Time Travel," she's like no other teacher Sahara has ever known. When she passes out writing journals to the class, Sahara has fresh hope for the school year. Through Miss Pointy's unusual teaching, storytelling and quiet support, Sahara finds the courage to overcome her fears and prove which file shows her true self.

The critics say YAY:

"Here is a sweet, smart and sassy novel to remind kids and teachers alike that what should happen in schools is not a double-entry accounting of knowledge, but the blossoming of souls...Kids will love this book."
--Avi, author of the 2003 Newbery Medal winner Crispin: The Cross of Lead

"Esmé Raji Codell is a writer of great humor and sensitivity. Reading Sahara Special made me want to be a fifth grader in Miss Pointy's class!"
--Ann M. Martin, author of the 2003 Newbery Honor Book A Corner of the Universe

"Codell has created a remarkable, unforgettable cast of characters...An absolutely lovely debut for children."
--Kirkus, starred review

"[The author] shows a keen understanding of classroom dynamics, a finely tuned ear for preadolescent voices and a lively, original wit...this novel will surely be empowering for reluctant learners-- and thought-provoking for everyone else."
--Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"Miss Pointy joins the constellation of fictional inspirational teachers who serve as models for students and teachers alike."
--Horn Book Magazine

"Sahara is sweeter than Harriet the Spy, as needy and engaging as Ramona, and is sure to be a character whom children will want to read about and get to know. Codell's take on fifth graders, teachers, special needs students and mothers is very funny, and underneath the humor glows a real warmth and love. A special novel that readers will not be able to put down."
--School Library Journal, starred review

"I am madly in love with Sahara Special. Madly, madly, madly."
--Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of NCSS Notable book Indian Shoes

To order a copy of Sahara Special,
please click on the book cover, or visit Booksense to support your local independent bookseller.
Sahara Special is also available in an unabridged audio version, read eloquently by actress Phylicia Rashad.

If you would like an autographed bookplate,
please send a note listing to whom you wish it autographed, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and mail your request to: Planet Esmé, Attention: Sahara Special, P.O. Box 6225, Evanston, IL 60204.

To hear Esmé read in person,
please check out her bookstore tour schedule.

On-line Discussion and Activity Guide
now available for teachers, homeschoolers and book clubs by clicking here.

To request Esmé for a school appearance, booksigning or keynote,
please check out Book Esme and then contact Veronica DiCapria.

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