Out of My Mind
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Out of My Mind

4.8 1318
by Sharon M. Draper
     
 

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Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school, but no one knows it. Most people—her teachers and doctors included—don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening

Overview

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school, but no one knows it. Most people—her teachers and doctors included—don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows…but she can't, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write.

Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind—that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice…but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.

From multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper comes a story full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you'll never, ever forget.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Eleven-year-old Melody Brooks has a photographic memory, synesthesia, and cerebral palsy. She can’t speak or feed herself, and her motor skills are limited to whatever her thumbs can manage. The neighbor woman who takes care of Melody while her parents work is determined that Melody will learn as much as possible, and she works tirelessly to expand the girl’s vocabulary. Eventually, with the help of a communication device, Melody manages to show her teachers and classmates just how much she knows. The premise of Melody’s cognitive skills being trapped in a minimally functioning body recalls Trueman’s Stuck in Neutral (BCCB 6/00), and the theme retains its fascination; Draper’s smooth style enhances the story, and there’s a romantic element to the notion that Melody isn’t simply capable but actually gifted. The drama is overplayed, though, with Melody’s abilities implausibly superlative. Melody’s school experiences are somewhat anachronistic, and her classmates are little more than a collection of clichés, from the special needs kids who are unfailingly kind and noble to the normal kids who are outspokenly rude. Draper is a master of melodrama, though, and Melody’s story certainly doesn’t lack that; she may not be a particularly believable character, but she’s an interesting one, and her plight will do its work of making students think twice about their classmates, acquaintances, and siblings with special needs. — BULLETIN, March 1, 2010

*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), this moving novel will make activists of us all. –Booklist STARRED REVIEW

Melody Brooks, in a wheelchair and unable to speak, narrates this story about finding her voice. The first half of the book catalogues Melody's struggles—from her frustration with learning the same preschool lessons year after year to her inability to express a craving for a Big Mac. Draper, whose daughter has cerebral palsy, writes with authority, and the rage behind Melody's narrative is perfectly illustrated in scenes demonstrating the startling ignorance of many professionals (a doctor diagnoses Melody as “profoundly retarded”), teachers, and classmates. The lack of tension in the plot is resolved halfway through when Melody, at age 10, receives a talking computer, allowing her to “speak.” Only those with hearts of stone won't blubber when Melody tells her parents “I love you” for the first time. Melody's off-the-charts smarts are revealed when she tests onto her school's quiz bowl team, and the story shifts to something closer to The View from Saturday than Stuck in Neutral. A horrific event at the end nearly plunges the story into melodrama and steers the spotlight away from Melody's determination, which otherwise drives the story. Ages 10–up. (Mar.) –Publishers Weekly

Unflinching and realistic...Rich in details of both the essential normalcy and the difficulties of a young person with cerebral palsy. –Kirkus STARRED REVIEW

This powerful story by a two-time Coretta Scott King winner offers a wrenching insight into so many vital lives that the able-bodied overlook. If there's only one book teens and parents (and everyone else) can read this year, "Out of My Mind" should be it. —The Denver Post

"Like Stephen Hawking, who becomes her hero, Melody discovers that her inner strength and intelligence are more reliable than most of the humans around her. She becomes an activist for herself, even as Draper challenges those who read her story to become activists for those who are different." -The Columbus Dispatch

VOYA - Walter Hogan
Although she's afflicted with cerebral palsy (CP), fifth grader Melody experiences a rich mental life, which is immediately evident to readers of her engaging first-person narration. Due to her inability to control her muscles or speak, she has to overcome initial assumptions that she is also mentally impaired. Only after acquiring an electric wheelchair and a special communication device can Melody begin to transmit her thoughts "out of her mind" and convince her teachers and schoolmates that she is an intelligent person inhabiting an unresponsive body, much like her hero, Stephen Hawking. Draper, a retired teacher (and, as explained in her author note, the mother of a grown daughter with CP), is superbly qualified to describe both home life and the public school setting from the perspective of a child with CP. Melody is mainstreamed into some regular classes, including a history class in which she earns a prized spot on a quiz team. Melody's triumphs and setbacks as she strives to become a socially accepted classmate and team member are vividly described in this inspirational novel, which will appeal not only to middle school readers but also to anyone who wonders what might be going on in the minds of individuals with severe physical handicaps. Draper's sensitive immersion in the mind of a specially challenged eleven year old joins a number of other excellent recent YA novels about CP. Ron Koertge's Stoner & Spaz (Candlewick, 2002/VOYA April 2002), Harriet McBryde Johnson's Accidents of Nature (Holt, 2006/VOYA August 2006) and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer's Reaching for the Sun (Bloomsbury, 2007) are about older teens with CP. Terry Trueman's acclaimed Stuck in Neutral (HarperCollins, 2000/VOYA December 2000) is narrated by a fourteen-year-old with CP. Reviewer: Walter Hogan
Children's Literature - Heather Robertson Mason
Melody is extremely smart. She remembers everything she sees and hears and understands much more than her fellow classmates; however, no one knows it because she has cerebral palsy and cannot speak. Everyone assumes that because she cannot talk, she cannot learn—everyone but her parents, Mrs. V, and one teacher's aide who are positive that she is more capable than anyone could imagine. When the school moves to an inclusion model and Melody is able to attend classes with "regular" kids, she finds that she is the outcast among them. When the chance to compete in the Whiz Kids Bowl comes up, Melody has to decide whether it is worth the risk to try to prove herself or to hide back in the resource room. This is a truly moving novel. Never will you look at kids, or adults for that matter, like Melody the same. Her passion for learning, her openness with her feelings about her disability and the fact that there is no happy ending where everyone gets what they want forces readers to examine their own views on people who may not seem "normal." This book is a realistic yet warm look into a subject most people would choose to ignore. But Melody doesn't want to be ignored anymore. Reviewer: Heather Robertson Mason
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Fifth grader Melody Brooks can't walk, can't hold on to things, can't feed herself, and can't talk like other kids her age. She has cerebral palsy, goes everywhere in a wheelchair, and attends school with other kids with special needs. Although she's never spoken a single word, Melody is brilliant but trapped by her physical limitations. When she gets a computer with a special keyboard, she finally has a voice. Her school begins integrating the special ed kids into select classes, and Melody seizes the chance to prove herself to everyone. Sharon M. Draper has populated her compelling novel (Atheneum, 2010) with vibrant characters, and narrator Sisi Aisha Johnson brings each one to their full potential, giving Melody the sass she deserves, and perfectly voicing her mother's fierce love and her father's jovial humanity. Sure to inspire listeners of all ages.—Sara Saxton, Tuzzy Consortium Library, Barrow, AK
Mary Quattlebaum
In Melody, author Sharon Draper creates an authentic character who insists, through her lively voice and indomitable will, that the reader become fully involved with the girl in the pink wheelchair. Details such as the messy particulars of Melody's daily routine, her anger over being babied intellectually and the arguments between her loving but strained parents add verisimilitude to this important novel.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Melody Brooks, in a wheelchair and unable to speak, narrates this story about finding her voice. The first half of the book catalogues Melody's struggles—from her frustration with learning the same preschool lessons year after year to her inability to express a craving for a Big Mac. Draper, whose daughter has cerebral palsy, writes with authority, and the rage behind Melody's narrative is perfectly illustrated in scenes demonstrating the startling ignorance of many professionals (a doctor diagnoses Melody as “profoundly retarded”), teachers, and classmates. The lack of tension in the plot is resolved halfway through when Melody, at age 10, receives a talking computer, allowing her to “speak.” Only those with hearts of stone won't blubber when Melody tells her parents “I love you” for the first time. Melody's off-the-charts smarts are revealed when she tests onto her school's quiz bowl team, and the story shifts to something closer to The View from Saturday than Stuck in Neutral. A horrific event at the end nearly plunges the story into melodrama and steers the spotlight away from Melody's determination, which otherwise drives the story. Ages 10–up. (Mar.)
Booklist
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), this moving novel will make activists of us all.
—Frances Bradburn
Kirkus Reviews
Melody, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, cannot walk or talk. Despite her parents' best efforts, the outside world has defined her by her condition. Melody's life changes when inclusion classrooms are introduced in her school, and she interacts with children other than those in her special-needs unit. To these children, Melody is "other," and they are mostly uncomfortable with her sounds and jerky movements. Normal problems of school friendships are magnified. Preparation for a trivia competition and acquisition of a computer that lets her communicate her thoughts reveal Melody's intelligence to the world. Melody is an entirely complete character, who gives a compelling view from inside her mind. Draper never shies away from the difficulties Melody and her family face. Descriptions of both Melody's challenges-"Going to the bathroom at school just plain sucks"-and the insensitivities of some are unflinching and realistic. Realistically, Melody's resilient spirit cannot keep her from experiencing heartbreak and disappointment even after she has demonstrated her intellect. This book is rich in detail of both the essential normalcy and the difficulties of a young person with cerebral palsy. (Fiction. 10 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416971702
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
03/09/2010
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
46,389
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Sharon M. Draper is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire. Her Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and has been a New York Times bestseller for well over two years. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year. Visit her at SharonDraper.com.

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Out of My Mind 4.8 out of 5 based on 6 ratings. 1318 reviews.
smaikens More than 1 year ago
I was emotionally overwhelmed by Out of My Mind, a middle grade novel by Sharon Draper. This is the story of Melody, a 10 year old girl with Cerebral Palsy so severe that she can neither speak nor move independently. Trapped inside Melody's uncooperative body is a brilliant mind with a cutting wit. Melody is relegated to a classroom of special needs kids because she can't communicate & her teachers assume that she is also mentally handicapped. Her world suddenly opens up when she gets a computer with a voice program that allows her to speak. Unfortunately, the rest of the school is not ready to accept Melody. I cheered for Melody while I read this book as I sat at my kitchen table. The conversations she has with her parents and caregivers about being different are gut-wrenching. Melody knows exactly how she is perceived by other kids and adults, including teachers. The conversations between Melody's parents as they comtemplate the birth of their 2nd child moved me to tears. This is more than a book about a girl with special needs. It holds up a mirror for all of us to see how we react to people with disabilities that make us uncomfortable. I encourage everyone to read this.
Flamingnet More than 1 year ago
Imagine having a photographic memory, imagine being extremely smart..... Well that's exactly how eleven year old Melody is except there is one problem, she can't talk or walk. Every day she goes to school to a special class for kids that have problems and every day they go over the alphabet. For her, though, she is past just learning the alphabet. Melody belongs in advanced classes but she has no way of letting anyone know that. Doctors and experts diagnosed her with cerebral palsy and insisted that she wasn't capable of learning. Little did they know she is destined to prove them wrong. With a little help from a friend and a lot of hope, Melody finds what she's been looking for all her life. She will prove to the world what she can accomplish. I've never read any of Sharon Draper's books before, but what caught my eye on this book was the cover. It is very interesting how the fish is jumping out of its bowl and it goes very well with the title. The characters were written very well and sometimes I found myself getting frustrated with some of Melody's problems. I started worrying if it would end okay. Even though it had some sad parts I really enjoyed reading Out of My Mind. I would recommend this for kids 11 and up. Reviewed by a young adult student reviewer Flamingnet Book Reviews Teen books reviewed by teen reviewers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing and inspiring story of a girl overcoming a desise. It tells us that even though people might be diffrent they can do great things.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I WOULD GIVE THIS BOOK A BILLION STARS!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and it was so sweet but so sad. Its a really really really great book and it also just so interesting. I recommend it for readers of all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will make you cry, laugh, and will never let you put it down. A great read for 10 - 13 year olds, espesially girls.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book ever. This a truly inspiring story. It shows that help from people who care about can help you accomplish anything you try to do.
Anomalous More than 1 year ago
I was a little hesitant at first when I bought this book. Now I am glad that I didn't back out! This story is very touching and moving. Instead of being a sappy, sad story, it was encouraging and I was cheering Melody onward. What I also love about this book is that the author really gave a voice for those with cerebral palsy. There is a unique perspective, and I admit that I have felt guilty while reading this book on acting as one of those people who are 'scared' of people with her condition. There's no reason to feel awkward anymore, and I think it is a book that all young readers must read (perhaps as a classroom book) so they are open to discuss it with others and remember this story when it comes to meeting other people with 'odd' conditions and characteristics.
Courtney Midthun More than 1 year ago
I read the free sample and I loved it.It is about this girl that is disabled. It is sad but itis still good.
3240 More than 1 year ago
i recommend this book to kids whom looking for boosters in young diasabled kids lives a great book for sportmenship
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent even finished the book but it is already amazing. To be placed in the shoes of a disabled student really changes my view on them. It is an amazing book and i'm sure all ages would love it. I had always thought they had it pretty easy but now reading this i can see they have pretty much the same problems as normal people. It is amazing and if i could i would tell everyone in the galaxy to read it. Congratulations Sharon M Draper!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have ever read. It is very relatable, the characters are very well developed, the story is absolutley fantastic and it is incredibly well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was well-written and enjoyable. The perspective of the main character kept me looking at things from a different point of view.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im in 6th grade and doesnt have a lot oof good senceof picking books. But when I read this book I instatly fell in love! This is NOT A WASTE OF YOU TIME AND MONEY!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will truely touch your heart. If you know someone who is disabled this book is for you. The world would be a better place if everyone reads this book. Literally.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A heartwarming story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a good book. Its so good its making me go out of my mind ha ha. I found the book at my schools book fair its just so good. I llllllllooooooovvvvvvvvveeeeee it absolutly love it. I would go out of my mind if was melody . Shes so smart but all the smarts are stuck in her wrighting this revew is macking me teer up .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a pretty tuff sixth grader but as i read this my eyes started to water i know i sound old saying that but its true it is actually true that book made me think alot differently about challenged people and did i mention i almost cried me cried i feel pitiful it is a spectacular book and i am mad at myself for reading it all in one day
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truely insprational. All of my friends loced it. It was a gripping ride with Melody on her road to living her life and everyone earing an listening to her. Fantastic novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great its a sunshine state book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved "Out of my Mind" !!! The events in this book left me both sad and angry. I was sad because of the way people treated this amazing young girl who was trapped inside an uncooperative body. Melody has cerebral palsy and is always underestimated. Sharon's descriptive writing allowed me to put myself in Melody's place and really experience how she was feeling. I could relate some of her troubles to my own life-- being underestimated, being judged after something happened that I couldn't control. I was so glad I read this book because it changed the way I look at people, especially disabled people. When Melody's fish jumped out of its bowl, she knocked over the tank to give it water. Her mother thought she pushed over the bowl on purpose, either because she didn't know what she was doing or because Melody is unable to control her limbs. I felt very sorry for Melody because of this and that she could not explain to her mother what happened. One of my favorite parts was when Melody got her Medi-Talker and was able to communicate with everyone. I was brought to tears when Melody missed her plane to Washington,D.C. for the Whiz Kids competition since there was a storm and their 12:00 flight was cancelled. None of the other students or parents even notified her that they were having breakfast together and going to the airport early because they thought she would take too long to feed and get ready. They were able to catch an early flight and no one called Melody. This book is great for almost all ages and I truly enjoyed it. I would recommend "Out of my Mind" to everyone I know. It was such a great read and I was extremely impressed by Sharon Draper's ability to get across such great emotion to the reader. You should read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was AMAZING!!! It was about a ten year old who has a disability where she can barely move a thumb or talk. She one day discovers a machine that allows her to talk. Pretty soon everyone sees how bright she is. Dont listen to anyone else its so good and NEVER boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book sososo sooooo much! If there were more than five stars ti rate this book with, than i would rate it a million stars. SO GOOD(SERIOUSLY)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this book melody is disabled and has so much to say. She is almost 11 i think and has never spoken a single word.everyone at school thinks she is so dumb. She finds a add for a special device and uses it to talk! The first thing she saud to her parents was i love you! She is super smart and gets to be on a special team i think. They get to compete agansit each other and her team wins!!!!! They win a trip i think and...... they leave without her. Her heart was crushed if you wanna kniw qhat happens you got to finish the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever it really got my attention from the beggining lov it Hit yes if u agree!!!