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Mrs. Flowers was Maya's saving grace. She befriended her, looked out for her, and encouraged her to read. She brought Maya out of her shell when she finally got her to read out loud, teaching her that the voice didn't have to be her own in order to be heard.
She made Maya feel special. She gifted her with books, made cookies and lemonade just for Maya, and read to her like a mother should read to her own child. Unfortunately, Maya's mother doesn't appreciate Mrs. Flower's actions and discourages Maya from continuing their relationship because she's jealous.