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Out of My Mind Paperback – May 1, 2012
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Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school—but no one knows it. Most people--her teachers and doctors included--don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows . . . but she can't, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write.
Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind--that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice . . . but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.
From multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper comes a story full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you'll never, ever forget.
A Note to Readers from Author Sharon Draper
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
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Melody is an intelligent 11-year-old girl with a photographic memory and cerebral palsy. She can't walk or talk, but she is hungry to learn and eager for language to express herself. Draper has crafted a likable protagonist with typical tween thoughts and emotions—Melody dreams that she will be the first chosen for school projects and games—all of which are compounded by the difficulties of living with cerebral palsy. Her patience and persistence are inspiring traits that will encourage and affirm the efforts of her readers. Sisi Aisha Johnson has created a charming Melody and successfully voices the girl's parents, teachers, and doctors. VERDICT This is a recommended purchase for all school and public libraries. ["Kids will benefit from being introduced to Melody and her gutsy, candid, and compelling story": SLJ 3/10 review of the S. & S. Atheneum book.]—Mary Lee Bulat, Harwinton Public Library, CT --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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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).