Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

out-of-my-mindCindy: Young teens who feel no one understands them will be a natural audience for Out of My Mind (Atheneum, Mar. 2010). Melody is a fifth grader who loves words but has never spoken any.  She has cerebral palsy and cannot dress or feed herself or communicate more than some basic needs with facial expressions and vague gestures.

“Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes–
each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands.”

People with handicaps and disabilities often face prejudice and ridicule, and sometimes just plain ignorance. Melody is no exception and the hurt she endures from classmates and even adults in her life will move Draper’s readers and may give them pause about their own actions, but Melody has been taught by smart parents and caregivers to believe in herself. She is loved and valued. When she finally obtains a means to communicate and can tell her parents she loves them back, well, any price would be worth that moment. Her new communication skills allow her to show everyone just how smart she is (she even competes to earn a slot on her school’s quiz bowl team) and to stand up better to her tormentors. A letter from the author in the advanced reviewer copy indicates that she has experience raising a daughter with cerebral palsy and draws on that knowledge to create her unique character of Melody. While this book provides another view of cerebral palsy different from Terry Trueman’s Printz-Honor book Stuck in Neutral, it’s probably a better read-alike for fans of the Newbery-Honor book Rules by Cynthia Lord. I’ve already been recommending this to my teachers for a read-aloud choice and I can’t wait to discuss it with our teen book club.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

3 Comments on "Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper"

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  1. Simplicity Rules! « Jacket Whys | March 10, 2010
  1. kj@yohoo.net' Specail needs girl says:

    melody is EXACTLY like me

  2. hannakspencer@yahoo.com' hanna spencer says:

    it sounds like a great book!! for my grc progect, im coosing – out of my mind!!

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