Friday, October 15, 2010

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Publisher:  Atheneum, March 2010
Pages:  304
Source:  Library
Genre:  Middle Grade Realistic Fiction

Melody was born with Cerebral Palsy.  She must be buckled in to her wheelchair at all times, she drools and has spasmodic moments, and she can't talk.  Even though she can't talk, her mind works all the time.  The problem is, no one knows this.  A couple of teachers have figured out her gestures and nurtured her learning along the way.  Most, along with her doctor, believe she would be better off in a nursing home.  Then enter Mrs. V. the neighbor.  She babysits Melody and that is when her real learning begins.  It starts with learning to roll over and grab things.  Throughout the year Mrs. V. teaches her words and sentences and even creates a board for her tray with pictures and words to help her communicate.  Then comes the day when she is in fifth grade and put in inclusion classes.  Seeing a girl's new computer she communicates with her aide that she wants something like it.  After some research they find a machine, the Medi-Talk, that will help her do just that.  Imagine every one's surprise when she returns to school after Christmas and is able to communicate.  Still not everyone believes she has a high functioning brain. When she makes the Whiz Kid Team and takes them to the next level her teacher is astounded and is apologetic for not realizing or understanding that just because her body was broken didn't mean her brain was.  But not everyone else feels this way.
I was on an emotional roller coaster through this book.  I cheered Melody on when she would accomplish something that was so easy for me and difficult for her.  I got angry when people judged her.      I devoured this book in just a couple of hours.  I think this should be required reading for all students and teachers.  Although I borrowed this book from our school library the day it came in, I will make sure that other teachers and students know of its existence and will be purchasing it for my own shelves.  Books that teach us such a powerful lesson and make us look at how we look at others don't come along very often.  This book was definitely well written.

(The opinions expressed here are mine and not those of the other panalists)

No comments:

Post a Comment