Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

by on September 2nd, 2014
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper Cover Image

Two-time Coretta Scott King Award winning author, Sharon M. Draper, has written a stunning novel for upper-elementary school children that opens like this:  “Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes–each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands.  Deep within me, words pile up in huge drifts.  Mountains of phrases and sentences and connected ideas.  Clever expressions.  Jokes.  Love songs …. But only in my head.  I have never spoken one single word.  I am almost eleven years old.”  So begins the story of fifth grader Melody Brooks who has cerebral palsy but doesn’t want to be defined by it.  Although she can’t walk, talk, feed herself, or go to the bathroom without help, she can read, think, remember, and feel.  She is a brilliant girl trapped in her own weak body and confined to a wheelchair.  Melody learns of a computer with technology that will allow her to communicate to others and her world changes big time!  But there are still ignorant doctors, thoughtless teachers, and cruel classmates to deal with.  Fortunately, Melody has a fierce advocate in her mother, not unlike the author whose own daughter has cerebral palsy, thus providing great authenticity and accuracy in the writing.  This book is a compelling read that will hopefully make all readers more compassionate and understanding toward those with disabilities and the misconceptions that go with them.  I especially loved Melody’s sense of humor and fortitude despite her many challenges.  This is one book you won’t be able to put down until you come to the final page.

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