Saturday, June 5, 2010

The 48 Hour Book Challenge - Post 5 - Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind
Sharon Draper
Atheneum/Simon and Schuster
295 pgs.

Melody has cerebral palsy and is stuck in a wheelchair. Outside of her family and her neighbor, Mrs. V., know one believes Melody is "normal", that she can think and understand just like any other eleven-year-old.  So, on top of trying to find her place in 5th grade, Melody also has to deal with frustration at people's misconceptions and misunderstandings. Many teachers treat her like an imbecile and all the children with different abilities are dumped in a room with an ever changing roster of adults, each of whom feels they know better than the one before.

"Wouldn't it be cool if I had somebody to write words over my head so people would know what I'm thinking?"

Melody gets something similar and her life is changed.  She's still not like the other students but she can participate though after so many silent years, it's hard for people to change their thinking.  Some people come around but still, Melody wishes, for once, she could be like the other kids.

Out of My Mind captures how students at this age feel; whether or not they have cerebral palsy.  Students aren't sure where, or if, they fit in.  Sometimes they feel so bad about themselves, they want to make fun of other students.  They make jokes, they whisper, they giggle, and all the while, they wonder: am I good enough? Do I look right? Will you be my friend? Am I normal?

Melody's first words to her family made me cry.  We have our voices, we should use them.  I can't say how well Draper captured a student with cerebral palsy.  I know she has a daughter that Melody is modeled after. I love that she didn't make her a character to feel sorry for but one to root for and support.  The story moved at a smooth pace with just a little bit of drag on some of the quiz points.  I liked that Melody wasn't a know it all either.

I give this 4 copies.  I think it's one that many teachers should read, at a bare minimum the ones that work with special needs students.  The book gave me a greater appreciation for the students and the staff.

Challenge Update
Books Read: 3
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Green Witch by Alice Hoffman
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Started: 1
Dandelion Fire by ND Wilson -45 pgs.

Total pgs: 690 pgs.

Total Time: 8 hr. 45 min.
Reading: 7 hr. 15 min.
Blogging: 1 hr. 30 min.

Hmm, 18 more hours to go.  Need to take a break and start some chores.  Be back later.


  1. Out Of My Mind is one of my favorite reads this year. I love Melody's voice and the story had me tearing up. Next year students will be reading this for our annual book battle. Draper rocks.

  2. I just got this book and it sounds really good, it's begging to be read. I thought it would make me cry but it doesn't sound like it's much of a tearjerker.

    I didn't know the book was based off the author's daughter.


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