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Out of My Mind
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Sharon M. Draper's Out of My Mind is narrated by a girl with cerebral palsy who's very intelligent but unable to express herself verbally or physically. When Melody is integrated into some general classes at school, many kids are purposely mean; others, including teachers, are cruel through their assumptions that Melody is incapable of understanding them. With the help of her parents and some supportive friends and teachers, Melody acquires a machine that allows her to communicate better than she ever has before. This gains her a measure of peer acceptance -- but also opens her up to hurt when she realizes she can never really be like everyone else. Ultimately, Melody's self-acceptance, sense of humor, and loving nature are inspiring.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In OUT OF MY MIND, narrator Melody, born with cerebral palsy, has never been able to communicate to her loving family all the thoughts that run through her mind. The story reveals Melody's inner thoughts and her frustration at not being able to control her body -- she has to have someone feed her and help her go to the bathroom -- despite the fact that she has a photographic memory. Melody reminisces about her childhood and takes us up to fifth grade, when she acquires a machine that helps her communicate better than she ever could before. When she gets on a school team with the "regular" kids that finally allows her to show off her intelligence, Melody thinks she's on the road to being accepted by them -- until she learns the heartbreaking truth that her differences will always set her apart.
Is it any good?
Author Sharon M. Draper, winner of several Coretta Scott King awards (for November Blues and Copper Sun, among others) has created a well-rounded, likable character. Melody's not afraid to express anger or frustration yet still manages to keep a mostly positive outlook on her situation. Though some of the language is surprisingly dated for a book that came out in 2010, Melody's worries are timeless: She wants to wear cool clothes, be accepted by her peers, and have grown-ups acknowledge her intelligence.
Readers will find it easy to empathize with Melody and will root for her when she finally gets to be a part of the fifth-grade history competition -- and they'll feel her heartbreak when all doesn't go as she hopes it will.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stories of kids dealing with disabilities. Do their experiences make it easier for you to deal with things in your own life, or do they make you look at problems differently?
How does technology improve Melody's life? Can you think of more ways technology could make positive changes for someone like Melody? Has technology had any negative impacts on Melody's life?
How does peer pressure affect people? Does reading Melody's story make you think differently about anyone you know or have observed?
- Author: Sharon M. Draper
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Atheneum
- Publication date: March 9, 2010
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 18
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.