This week I will be talking about Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Sharon Draper is a great author and she is the author of one of my favorite books Forged by Fire. Draper's books always are about difficult topics, and Out of My Mind is about a student with a disability.
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.
This story is truly moving. Melody's character is rich and easy to love. Due to her physical disabilities, fifth grader Melody is unable to show her incredible mental abilities. This story is more moving for teachers in my opinion because it shows how students with disabilities can be more than what they seem. They are not a label. They should not be confined in the limitations our society places on them. This would also be an important story to teach in a classroom to show children that although we may not all look, act, or have the same capabilities- we are all humans inside.
Here is what Sharon Draper said about the book:
People often ask me, "What was your inspiration for Out of my Mind?" I reply, "All great stories emerge from deep truths that rest within us." But the real truth of a story often can be found in places that not even the author has dared to explore. I suppose the character of Melody came from my experiences in raising a child with developmental difficulties. But Melody is not my daughter. Melody is pure fiction--a unique little girl who has come into being from a mixture of love and understanding. Out of my Mind is the story of a ten-year-old-girl who cannot walk or talk. She has spirit, determination, intelligence and wit, and no one knows it. But from buildings that are not wheelchair--accessible to classmates who make fun of her she finds a strength within herself she never knew existed.
I was fiercely adamant that nobody feel sorry for Melody. I wanted her to be accepted as a character and as a person, not as a representative for people with disabilities. Melody is a tribute to all the parents of disabled kids who struggle, to all those children who are misunderstood, to all those caregivers who help every step of the way. It's also written for people who look away, who pretend they don't see, or who don't know what to say when they encounter someone who faces life with obvious differences. Just smile and say hello!
--Sharon M. Draper
If the premise of this story interests you I recommend you try the book. You will not be disappointed.
Please comment if you have 1. Read this novel 2. Have a book to recommend to others OR have a book you'd like reviewed.