I usually do a lot of reading over the summer, but this year was different. I ended up doing more writing than reading—when I wasn’t caring for the three dogs, that is. Of the few books I did manage to read, this one stuck out for me as meaningful and one I’d definitely want to read again.
Today’s Pick: Out of My Mind
by Sharon M. Draper
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010
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. In this breakthrough story—reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.
This was a powerful and moving story. It gave me a glimpse into the perspective of someone with a life very different from my own. This is a wonderful book for students and classroom discussion. I enjoyed the twists and surprises in this book from several events that I didn’t see coming. I also appreciated the way the ending wasn’t too neatly wrapped up, just like real life.
As a writer, I especially enjoyed the main character’s voice. It gave her so much personality and really brought her character to life, which was so important in this story since Melody couldn’t speak.
“Words. I’m surrounded by thousands of words. Maybe millions.”
Sharon M. Draper lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and their golden retriever.
Out of My Mind and her other books have received many awards and honors – far too many to list here. She has been honored as National Teacher of the Year and is a five time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary award.
Here’s what she says about writing: “I love to write; words flow easily from my fingertips, and my heart beats rapidly with excitement as an idea becomes a reality on the paper in front of me.”
And she also talks about writing about a child with physical limitations: “I wanted to give those kids, who are often treated as if they are invisible, a chance to be heard, to be seen as the individuals they are, not the machines they ride in, or the disability that defines them.”
Some of the author’s other books include:
Little Sister is Not My Name – Sassy #1
The Birthday Storm – Sassy #2
The Silver Secret – Sassy #3
The Dazzle Disaster Party – Sassy #4
The Clubhouse Mystery Series
For more, visit Sharon M. Draper’s website.
Looking for more great middle grade reads? Visit Shannon Messenger's website for a list of bloggers and their picks for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!