Author: Sharon M. Draper
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Year: 2011
In Out of My Mind, author Sharon M. Draper presents an eleven-year old girl, Melody, with Cerebral Palsy. Melody cannot walk, talk, or grasp objects, much less feed herself or take herself to the restroom. She relies on her family, neighbor and aides at school to buckle her into her wheelchair and attempt to interpret what she wishes to communicate. However, despite her physical shortcomings, Melody has an amazing mind. She knows much more than doctors and even her own mother think she does. With the help of her neighbor, Mrs. V, as well as her own clever communication tactics, Melody gets what she needs to show the world what she can do.
New York Times Bestselling Novel
Josette Frank Award
2011 IRA Teachers' Choice Book
2011 IRA Young Adult's Choice
KIRKUS Best Book of the Year
Buckeye Children's Book Award
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award
Virginia Reader's Choice Award
This problem novel is another great choice for gifted students. Sharon M. Draper does a great job developing the characters and helping the reader to get a clear picture of the events happening in the story. I would not make a blanket recommendation of this book for all gifted students as those who experience the emotional overexcitability may struggle with the highly emotional content. For those who don't struggle with this, the book presents an excellent opportunity to experience life as Melody and to learn from her as well as develop a new perspective of anyone with a disability.
In my classroom I think this would make a great book for a book club. Students would enjoy discussing the book and having deep conversations about its implications for their lives.