Sahara decides that school isn't working for her, so she's not going to turn in the work, or raise her hand, or be bothered with any of it. This decision means that Sahara repeats fifth grade, with a brand new teacher and group of classmates. Sahara's father left a few years ago, and she misses him. This book is about how she faces challenges - will she go it alone?
Sahara is one of the most memorable characters in middle grade fiction. The immediacy of her concern about repeating fifth grade and dealing with peers resonates instantly with readers. Her long-term concerns about her identity, her career, and her important relationships are also easy for readers to connect with, even if they don't have quirky teachers or live in large cities.
Class Structure Recommendation: Read-Aloud (note: a couple of instances of mature language) or Independent Reading
The desert is a mystery.
To cross it, you have to be a camel.
You have to use what you have for yourself,
keep what you need inside yourself, in a big, sagging hump."
The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.
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