Out of My Mind - book cover
Growing Up & Facts of Life
  • Publisher : Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition
  • Published : 01 May 2012
  • Pages : 320
  • ISBN-10 : 1416971718
  • ISBN-13 : 9781416971719
  • Language : English

Out of My Mind

A New York Times bestseller for three years and counting!

"A gutsy, candid, and compelling story. It speaks volumes." -School Library Journal (starred review)
"Unflinching and realistic." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

From award-winning author Sharon Draper comes a story that will forever change how we all look at anyone with a disability, perfect for fans of RJ Palacio's Wonder.

Eleven-year-old Melody is not like most people. She can't walk. She can't talk. She can't write. All because she has cerebral palsy. But she also has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She's the smartest kid in her whole school, but NO ONE knows it. Most people-her teachers, her doctors, her classmates-dismiss her as mentally challenged because she can't tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by her disability. And she's determined to let everyone know it…somehow.

Editorial Reviews

*Born with cerebral palsy, Melody, 10, has never spoken a word. She is a brilliant fifth grader trapped in an uncontrollable body. Her world is enhanced by insight and intellect, but gypped by physical limitations and misunderstandings. She will never sing or dance, talk on the phone, or whisper secrets to her friends. She's not complaining, though; she's planning and fighting the odds. In her court are family, good neighbors, and an attentive student teacher. Pitted against her is the "normal" world: schools with limited resources, cliquish girls, superficial assumptions, and her own disability. Melody's life is tragically complicated. She is mainly placed in the special-ed classroom where education means being babysat in a room with replayed cartoons and nursery tunes. Her supportive family sets her up with a computer. She learns the strength of thumbs as she taps on a special keyboard that finally lets her "talk." When she is transitioned into the regular classroom, Melody's undeniable contribution enables her class to make it to the national quiz team finals. Then something happens that causes her to miss the finals, and she is devastated by her classmates' actions. Kids will benefit from being introduced to Melody and her gutsy, candid, and compelling story. It speaks volumes and reveals the quiet strength and fortitude it takes to overcome disabilities and the misconceptions that go with them." -School Library Journal "STARRED REVIEW

*Fifth-grader Melody has cerebral palsy, a condition that affects her body but not her mind. Although she is unable to walk, talk, or feed or care for herself, she can read, think, and feel. A brilliant person is trapped inside her body, determined to make her mark in the world in spite of her physical limitations. Draper knows of what she writes; her daughter, Wendy, has cerebral palsy, too. And although Melody is not Wendy, the authenticity of the story is obvious. Told in Melody's voice, this highly readable, compelling novel quickly establishes her determination and intelligence and the almost insurmountable challenges she faces. It also reveals her parents' and caretakers' courage in insisting that Melody be treated as the smart, perceptive child she is, and their perceptiveness in understanding how to help her, encourage her, and discourage self-pity from others. Thoughtless teachers, cruel classmates, Melody's unattractive clothes ("Mom seemed to be choosing them by how easy they'd be to get on me"), and bathroom issues threaten her spirit, yet the brave Melody shines through. Uplifting and upsetting, this is a book that defies age categorization, an easy enough read for upper-elementary students yet also a story that will enlighten and resonate with teens and adults. Similar to yet the antithesis of Terry Trueman's Stuck in Neutral (2000...

Readers Top Reviews

BeccaMrs. L. J. King
This book pulled at my heartstrings. I work with someone who has a traumatic brain injury and wish she could have some of the things Melody gets like the computer to help her talk. Melody, has cerebral palsy and is maybe the smartest person in her grade. Unfortunately, no one knows because she can’t talk. Overall the book was good but I did find it a bit slow at times. The way Melody’s teachers and classmates treated her made me sooooo angry but Melody didn’t let them bother her too much. I loved how her parents don’t treat her any differently than her sister, Penny. I also love that her neighbor, Mrs. V helps melody reach her full potential. This book was a good read and I’m glad I gave it a try.
Lisa B
I am a fourth grade teacher, and for the past 15 years, I have read this book to EVERY class I have had. The students get SO into the story of Melody, a disabled fifth grade student. This is not the happy-ending feel-good story but rather a story of how people are judged simply for how they appear. Imagine the frustration of a main character who is brilliant, but with cerebral palsy has a difficult time communicating her thoughts, wishes and beliefs. A very realistic story which will have your students BEGGING to read the next chapter. Highly recommend. Although I purchased this for 9 year old students, my young teenaged children also read this voraciously, and therefore I would recommend it for children aged 9-13.
J Wat
This was purchased for my niece as a summer read while on summer vacation from school. She is eleven years old and this is her review.. I love how this book is so exciting and you never know what's going to happen next. It's cool how they show all of the people's thoughts. It's so awesome to think about all the things that Melody goes through with Cerebral Palsy. I've had the book for maybe two months or less and I have almost read all of it, I have six chapters left to read. I like to think of all the things that Melody goes through. I like how I know what her friends thoughts are and how she responds to different things. Each night I take time to think of what I read, I love to do this because you are thinking about everything you read because you're thinking of what you did read and how things went and how things go in her life. When exciting things happened to Melody, I was always so happy for her, it always made me feel good inside. I also like to think of how other people in the world can have this disease and it really helps me to understand how people deal with this. This book, made me cry, angry, and so many different emotions! If you interested in like diseases and how people treat them and you like to be in the shoes of the people who have the Cerebral Palsy disease then this is the book for you. If you're the opposite of these things and it's different for you then this would not be the book for you exactly. This book will change your thoughts about people who are troubled.
An emotional story told form a perspective of a girl who was born with cerebral palsy and as a result cannot walk, talk, or do most the things that healthy children can. What Melody is amazing at is thinking. She is smart. The problem is, she cannot express it, and that is why nobody knows she is capable of extraordinary thinking. However this is about the change. 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).
My ten year old spent several weeks in a wheelchair last year after breaking her femur. She got a tiny glimpse of what it must be like for other children who have to be in wheelchairs all the time. Since then she has been obsessed with books about children who have disabilities because she felt that one experience opened her eyes to what it's like for people with challenges she doesn't have, so when she read this main character had to be in a wheelchair, it was a no-brainer. She wanted this book right away. She read it non-stop in a day and then read it again. She says it's the best book she's ever read. She asked me to read it, so I did. It was a very hard book to read as a human being but also as a parent. It is absolutely heartbreaking what Melody has to go through. I had very visceral reactions to this book and found myself weeping many times. It really puts a fine point on how cruel people--especially other children--can be to those who are differently abled. Also very eye-opening as to what people who have physical limitations must face day in and day out and also gives you some insight into what it must be like for their parents as well. This should be required reading for kids and adults alike.

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