Esme Raji Codell write so beautifully I want to cry when the book is over because I just hate to have to stop reading. Last year I read Sing a Song of Tuna Fish out loud to my fifth grade classes and it was exquisite. I had to stop and laugh or weep every once in a while. Reading her books is like taking your best friend out for coffee and staying up half the night to have another cinnamon roll. I mean it, I love her.
Sahara Special is about a girl who is struggling and has to repeat fifth grade. She has decided to do nothing at all at school so that the grown ups will have no more paper to put in her file. Then she gets a new and wacky teacher and everything changes. This book takes me right back to when I was a child, and makes me a better grown up at the same time. It is poetry and music and hopscotch and skinned knees.
We have put in a request to interlibrary loan for another of her books that is a first year teacher's diary, called Educating Esme. The other librarian here and I both want to read it next. Also I would recommend you visit her web site. Besides telling about all her books there are teacher's activity guides, discussions and book list recommendations for kids of all ages. She gives tips for how to get kids reading more and a lot of great links for anyone who loves children's literature.