Out of My Mind
Written by Sharon M. Draper
Melody is incredibly smart, but no one knows it. She’s locked inside her brilliant mind because she has cerebral palsy. She can’t talk or walk. She attends special education classes at school. Her mother and her neighbor always knew there was more going on in there than met the eye. Eventually, she finds a teacher who tries to help her and an aide who knows what she needs. They find an electronic device that allows Melody to show what has been going on in her head for the past eleven years. One of the first statements she programs into her machine is, “We all have disabilities. What’s yours?” She reserves this for particularly confrontational people. She enters an academic competition and shines, in spite of all the missteps and issues surrounding it.
Draper does an incredible job of getting inside Melody’s mind. People, even the people who know her well, often speak over Melody like she isn’t even there. Melody always points this out to the reader. Thus, the author shows how important it is to treat everyone with the same consideration and respect the reader would expect. Life is never easy for Melody, but she able to do what she can do.
This is an excellent resource to teach fourth grade readers about the spectrum of abilities and disabilities without being preachy. Melody loves words, so this is a great resource for increasing comprehension and literacy skills.
The author’s website, http://www.sharondraper.com offers an excellent study guide, complete with reading activities.