Out of My Mind
By Sharon M. Draper
Hi! Imagine how it would feel if you had never been able to talk. It would be pretty bad, right? Well, Melody, the main character of this book, has Cerebral Palsy. That is something that disables her from having control of different parts of her body. These things include off-key balance, not being able to talk, and horrible hand coordination. (That means moving your fingers, if you didn’t know.) She can’t control anything from the waist down. She needs to be in a wheelchair.
Melody’s whole life has been turned upside-down by this awful disease. She has a brilliant mind and can see and taste colors and flavors in songs. However, she can’t get any of this out because she can’t speak. She has a talking board that has a few things on it like, “Hi,” “I need to use the restroom,” “Thank you,” and “Please.”
One day, when Melody was five, she had to go to a doctor’s office to see if she was able to be educated at a school. His name was Dr. Hugely. He asked her questions like, “Which one of these is different from the others?” and “Which one of these animals is a calf?” Melody apparently was too smart for the questions. She got them wrong because she had a different way of looking at them. Also, Dr. Hugely asked her to do things that she couldn’t do like stacking the blocks in order from smallest to largest. Melody knew which of the blocks were smaller and which were bigger, but she couldn’t stack them. Later, Dr. Hugely came out with the results that she was not fit to go to a regular school He suggested sending her to a Nursing Home, where Melody could forget all about her parents. And, of course, Melody’s parents weren’t going to do that! Instead, they went and enrolled her at Spaulding Street Elementary School. There, they had just opened an inclusion class for people like Melody.
Melody went to school, but she never changed classrooms. A new teacher would just come in and out of the same classroom. The inclusion classes weren’t very fun. Melody wanted to get out there and be with regular people. Then, suddenly, in 5th grade, classrooms started opening up to the inclusion class students.
The first class to open up was music, then gradually, most of the others opened up. Melody went to Music first with Mrs. Lovelace, and last to History with Mr. Dimming. In History, there was a Whiz Kids Quiz Team tryout. The Whiz Kids Competition was when different schools got together and each school picked their six top students to compete in the competition. There was a state competition and a national competition. If you win the state competition, you move onto nationals, and if you win nationals, you get a big, first-place trophy. Melody tried out, and on the practice round for Whiz Kids Quiz Team, she got every question right. On the actual tryouts, she also got every question right, so she was inducted into the team!
However, even though Melody’s academics are going well, her social life is not doing so great…
Will Melody make it to nationals on the Whiz Kids Quiz Team? Will students start to become friends with Melody? As I always say, read the book to find out!
A few helpful things I like to say about the books I read:
“Run and Get Mom” (how I describe the scariness factor – zero being not scary at all and five being majorly scary): 0
“Yucky-Lovey Stuff” (how I describe the romance factor – zero having no yucky-lovey parts in it and five having major yucky-lovey parts): 0
I give this book 5 wands.
This book was GREAT! It was full of the challenges that we don’t normally face in our everyday lives. It gave you a great look at the point-of-view in life from a person who is different from you.