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Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Out of My Mind (edition 2010)

by Sharon M. Draper

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1,3291175,845 (4.33)36
Title:Out of My Mind
Authors:Sharon M. Draper
Info:Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2010), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:children's literature, fiction, disabilities, read 2013

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Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper


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Eleven year old Melody is trapped in her Cerebral Palsied body. While her body fails, her mind soars. Compiling mental lists of thousands of words, at an early age she perceived them as colors. As the images float in a brilliant kaleidoscope, she grieves that she cannot articulate and pronounce a single word.

Because people saw the physical constraints, except for a few, she was perceived as severely mentally challenged. Knowing that her tiny eyes expressed far more than her body could communicate, her mother insisted she attend school. Placed in a room with severely mentally challenged individuals, she longs to be set free, to express words, to communicate and identify her surroundings.

Acquiring a machine that fosters communication, she is released from the chains that held for for so long.

While she drools, cannot walk and is dependent upon a motorized wheel chair for transportation, has severe, uncontrollable spasms, cannot feed herself, nor cannot go to the bathroom without assistance, she stubbornly longs for fit in, to find a way to be "normal."

For part of the day, she is allowed to attend a classroom of individuals her age. Using her machines, her spirit and intelligence shine through.

When she takes a giant risk and joins other intelligent classmates in trying out for a scholastic competition, she is the only student ever to answer all questions correctly.

When her school is set to go to Washington, DC for the national competition, Melody sadly realizes how very cruel her classmates can be.

There are many layers to this story. The love of family shines through. The love of others who understand her and open doors is a beauty to behold.

Many of us experienced bullying, Melody has to be strong on many levels and dig deep inside to overcome the harsh reality that many value physical attributes far more than what her soul holds.

Tragically, Melody remembers that once, she watched, unable to do anything as her gold fish jumped out of the bowl, flew through the air and died because it was out of the necessary environment to sustain life.

Analogous to her gold fish, Melody knows that to overcome limitations, may equate to gasping for air while others watch helplessly. And, while Melody knows her parents are there to cheer her on, her classmates jealously wait for her to fail.

Five well-deserved stars for this one! ( )
1 vote Whisper1 | Sep 7, 2014 |
Great book of a girl with CP who can't talk but is brilliant.
Because she can't talk, people don't know how to handle her. When she throws a tantrum because she sees a certain kind of toy blocks that have been banned for lead poisoning in a store and her mother just thinks she is "acting up" and gets upset.
She is mainstreamed into school with the help of a wonderful aide and while the bullies are there, there is also at least one semi-nice girl but even she doesn't understand and help as much as she could have which is normal for a adolescent girl.
When she finally get a talking computer and starts to show just how smart she really is, she is accused of "cheating" because the machine is giving the information instead of her.
There are some REALLY bad adults as in the idiot doctor who assumes she is too stupid for words and the teacher who really doesn't understand about how she got on a quiz bowl team so I can't give it 5 stars (although I am sure there are people like this out there) but for the most part it is a brilliant and yet depressing look at just how hard it is to be trapped in a body that won't cooperate. ( )
  FaithLibrarian | Sep 1, 2014 |
Booklist starred (January 1, 2010), Horn Book starred (Fall 2010), Kirkus Reviews starred (February 15, 2010)
1 vote | stonini | Jul 13, 2014 |
Seeing life from the perspective of someone who has amazing insight to who people really are is amazing! I really enjoyed this book. Melody's story is one that truly needed telling. I think I felt every emotion as I was reading, happy, sad/tearful, angry, frustrated, even embarrassed. One I'm considering to share with my students in the fall - just not sure how (read aloud, audiobook, or individually). ( )
  Renee.Brandon | Jul 5, 2014 |
This is a great book for many reasons. First, it is written from the point of view of Melody, a girl with cerebral palsy. It gives readers a look in the mind of someone who has no means of communication, and really puts the struggle into perspective. Due to the fact that Melody is 11 years old, students in the fifth or sixth grades can relate to her experiences. Next, the first chapter of the book introduces Melody’s feelings and condition. At the end, the story comes full circle when Melody begins writing her autobiography, using the same words as the first chapter written in italics. Also, I like that Melody’s words are written in bold because it makes it easy to distinguish her speech from her thoughts. In addition, every chapter begins with a few important sentences bolded to introduce the chapter. For example, the author writes, “What happened today was all my fault. I should have listened. We should have all stayed home and spent the day together. But we didn’t. Because of me,” in order to foreshadow the events of the chapter. Finally, there is a reading group guide at the end of the book with discussion questions, encouraging students to share their feelings on the book and discuss important dispositions. This book teaches children and even teachers how not to act and provides models of how to act. The central message of this story is that students with disabilities have unique abilities that make them who they are. ( )
  kfield9 | May 11, 2014 |
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To my daughter, Wendy Michelle Draper, with love
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Words. I'm surrounded by thousands of words.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 141697170X, Hardcover)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:07 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

(summary from another edition)

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