Sahara Special


Esme Raji Codell

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Was it fair for the principal to keep Sahara's letters to her father in her school file?
  2. Sahara was put in "special services" because she quit doing her homework after her letters were taken from her. Have you ever had the experience of being misunderstood and labeled as something you are not?
  3. What does Sahara mean when she says, "I'd sooner not try than fail" (p. 12.) Have you ever felt like that?
  4. Have you ever had a teacher like Miss Pointy? If not, would you like to?
  5. Sometimes Sahara sneaked a peak at Darrell's journal. Why was she so interested in what he was writing? Do you think it was okay for her to look at what he had written?
  6. Do you have a journal? Do you like to write in it? What kinds of things do you write?
  7. Why did Miss Pointy tell the story about why teachers get apples? Did you like the story? What would you wish for?
  8. Sahara says that inside each person is a secret person. Who is the secret person inside Sahara? Do you have a secret person inside you?
  9. When Sahara's mom asks her what they did at school and she tells her that kids read aloud from their journals, her mom says, "Lord, they sure waste your time at school, don't they?" Do you think Sahara agrees or disagrees that her time is being wasted at school? Do you think they are wasting their time?
  10. Who is your favorite character?
  11. According to Miss Pointy, the main character of a story is the one who changes the most. Who is the main character in Sahara Special? What kind of changes does the character go through?

If you liked this book try

  • The Report Card by Andrew Clements
  • Love that Dog by Sharon Creech
  • Loser by Jerry Spinelli
  • Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson


Apples (with peanut butter, carmel and/or slices of cheese)

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.