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Out of My Mind Paperback – May 1, 2012
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From the Publisher
*Fifth-grader Melody has cerebral palsy, a condition that affects her body but not her mind. Although she is unable to walk, talk, or feed or care for herself, she can read, think, and feel. A brilliant person is trapped inside her body, determined to make her mark in the world in spite of her physical limitations. Draper knows of what she writes; her daughter, Wendy, has cerebral palsy, too. And although Melody is not Wendy, the authenticity of the story is obvious. Told in Melody's voice, this highly readable, compelling novel quickly establishes her determination and intelligence and the almost insurmountable challenges she faces. It also reveals her parents' and caretakers' courage in insisting that Melody be treated as the smart, perceptive child she is, and their perceptiveness in understanding how to help her, encourage her, and discourage self-pity from others. Thoughtless teachers, cruel classmates, Melody's unattractive clothes ("Mom seemed to be choosing them by how easy they'd be to get on me"), and bathroom issues threaten her spirit, yet the brave Melody shines through. Uplifting and upsetting, this is a book that defies age categorization, an easy enough read for upper-elementary students yet also a story that will enlighten and resonate with teens and adults. Similar to yet the antithesis of Terry Trueman's Stuck in Neutral (2000), this moving novel will make activists of us all. -"Booklist "STARRED REVIEW
Eleven-year-old Melody Brooks has a photographic memory, synesthesia, and cerebral palsy. She can't speak or feed herself, and her motor skills are limited to whatever her thumbs can manage. The neighbor woman who takes care of Melody while her parents work is determined that Melody will learn as much as possible, and she works tirelessly to expand the girl's vocabulary. Eventually, with the help of a communication device, Melody manages to show her teachers and classmates just how much she knows. The premise of Melody's cognitive skills being trapped in a minimally functioning body recalls Trueman's "Stuck in Neutral "(BCCB 6/00), and the theme retains its fascination; Draper's smooth style enhances the story, and there's a romantic element to the notion that Melody isn't simply capable but actually gifted. The drama is overplayed, though, with Melody's abilities implausibly superlative. Melody's school experiences are somewhat anachronistic, and her classmates are little more than a collection of cliches, from the special needs kids who are unfailingly kind and noble to the normal kids who are outspokenly rude. Draper is a master of melodrama, though, and Melody's story certainly doesn't lack that; she may not be a particularly believable character, but she's an interesting one, and her plight will do its work of making students think twice about their classmates, acquaintances, and siblings with special needs. -- "BULLETIN, "March 1, 2010
Melody Brooks, in a wheelchair and unable to speak, narrates this story about finding her voice. The first half of the book catalogues Melody's struggles--from her frustration with learning the same preschool lessons year after year to her inability to express a craving for a Big Mac. Draper, whose daughter has cerebral palsy, writes with authority, and the rage behind Melody's narrative is perfectly illustrated in scenes demonstrating the startling ignorance of many professionals (a doctor diagnoses Melody as "profoundly retarded"), teachers, and classmates. The lack of tension in the plot is resolved halfway through when Melody, at age 10, receives a talking computer, allowing her to "speak." Only those with hearts of stone won't blubber when Melody tells her parents "I love you" for the first time. Melody's off-the-charts smarts are revealed when she tests onto her school's quiz bowl team, and the story shifts to something closer to The View from Saturday than Stuck in Neutral. A horrific event at the end nearly plunges the story into melodrama and steers the spotlight away from Melody's determination, which otherwise drives the story. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) -"Publishers Weekly"
"Like Stephen Hawking, who becomes her hero, Melody discovers that her inner strength and intelligence are more reliable than most of the humans around her. She becomes an activist for herself, even as Draper challenges those who read her story to become activists for those who are different." -The Columbus Dispatch
This powerful story by a two-time Coretta Scott King winner offers a wrenching insight into so many vital lives that the able-bodied overlook. If there's only one book teens and parents (and everyone else) can read this year, "Out of My Mind" should be it. --The Denver Post
Unflinching and realistic...Rich in details of both the essential normalcy and the difficulties of a young person with cerebral palsy. -Kirkus STARRED REVIEW
About the Author
- Lexile Measure : 700L
- Grade Level : 5 - 6
- Item Weight : 7.6 ounces
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1416971718
- ISBN-13 : 978-1416971719
- Product Dimensions : 5.13 x 0.9 x 7.63 inches
- Publisher : Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint Edition (May 1, 2012)
- Reading level : 10 and up
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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There are enough reviews detailing the story. So I will just say what my granddaughter said to me after reading "Wonder" (another must read), "You just have to read it for yourself."
Out of My Mind should be required reading for 5th to 8th graders.
Update: 5/21/17 -Just got on to order 2 copies for gifts after attending New York Institute of Technology graduation yesterday. A young man graduated with a much coveted award. The school official called out the award winner and everyone started craning their necks to see who it was. When it seemed like no one was coming, the young man, in his wheelchair, was brought forward. I almost lost it because he immediately reminded me of Melody in Out of My Mind. After the ceremony, as the families, friends and grads milled about on the lawn, no one, not one soul, approached this young man as he sat with another student in a wheelchair. Because of this book, because of Melody, I was able to go talk to him and I will always remember him and his thanks, and "God bless you!"
Melody takes us through the challenges that life has brought her, as well as through her frustrations and emotions. She takes us through her ups and her downs, and helps us understand a little bit more the challenges of being disabled.
I recommend this book – especially for children. It teaches tolerance. It teaches understanding. It teaches that nobody is perfect. Not everyone is physically or mentally disabled, but a lot of people are emotionally and socially disabled (bullies).
Top reviews from other countries
It was such an easy read and pleasant but it also had quite a series topic involved into the story, from an adult/teen prospective it is an eye opener to a world I never knew about. Melody the main character has a condition were she can not move or speak and is classed by the doctors "retard" but she has a photographic memory and is very smart.
You travel with her for a period of her life and she speaks all about the feelings and troubles of not being able to voice or even scream in frustration. It is a journey with a lots of laughter and tears.
Great quick read for adults and teens with a serious topic and great for children to understand about bullying and learning not to judge a book by it cover.
For making any child think that about reading i'd give it six stars!