Out of My Mind
By Sally Engelfried,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Girl with cerebral palsy conquers challenges in moving tale.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Reading about Melody's daily life will educate many readers about what it's like to have a physical disability and help them understand why they shouldn't take their own abilities for granted. Readers get a window into Melody's mind that will inspire empathy and an understanding that we never really know what's inside a person, despite appearances.
Don't judge people at face value. Keep striving for what you want, no matter how impossible it seems. Even if all your dreams don't come true, it's possible to improve your life. Love is a great motivator, and family support is invaluable. A sense of humor can help you tolerate even prejudice and ill feeling.
Positive Role Models
Melody's intelligent and works hard to achieve as much as she can, despite her physical disabilities. The love and support she's always received from her parents enable her to express her emotions clearly, whether it's frustration and hurt at the cruelty of her classmates, elation over her intellectual triumphs, or appreciation of the people around her who help her. Melody's parents, especially her mother, are strong advocates for Melody's rights and fight against the bias many people have toward Melody because of her cerebral palsy.
Kids call Melody and her disabled classmates "retarded" and make fun of them.
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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.
Where to Read
Based on 13 parent reviews
Not recommended for kids under 12, much like book Wonder but worse
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A must read. Great for “clean” book reports.
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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
- 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
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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