Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Out of My Mind. Sharon M. Draper. Atheneum, c.2010. 304 pages.

Summary:

Melody is almost eleven years old (10 and 3/4), but she has never spoken a word. Born with cerebral palsy, she is strapped in a wheelchair. However, she has a photographic memory and is the smartest kid in her whole school but, because she can’t talk, no one knows it. Melody is in a special-ed class at school until her dad sets her up with a computer that has a special keyboard that allows her to “talk” for the first time. Melody moves to a regular classroom, eventually helping her class make the national quiz team finals.

Review/personal thoughts:

Melody’s story is incredibly inspiring. Born with cerebral palsy and unable to talk, she feels trapped in her own head and is going on out of her mind. Even though she’s the smarted kid in her whole school, Melody is stuck in a special-ed class where they watch cartoons, and is met with discrimination from her peers. Even after Melody gains the ability to “talk” from a computer with a special keyboard, her classmates continue to treat her differently, often ignoring her altogether. However, in spite of all this, Melody does not give up. She remains determined to live a fulfilling life.

Genre: contemporary realistic

Reading/interest level: ages 9 to 12

Awards:

Cooperative Children’s Book Council Choices

Kirkus Best Children’s Book

Similar title: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

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