Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

out of I love the beginning of this book, where Melody talks about words and how she loves them. It’s not until the end of the first chapter that you find out what words really mean to her: “I have no idea how I untangled the complicated process of words and thought, but it happened quickly and naturally. By the time I was two, all my memories had words, and all my words had meanings. But only in my head. I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old.” Melody has cerebral palsy. She’s unable to move voluntarily (except for her thumbs), although she sometimes moves in a jerky, spastic way, especially if she’s upset or excited. She can’t really communicate, but there’s plenty going on inside her head. Luckily her parents always believed in her intelligence, and her neighbor Mrs. Valencia, who has been babysitting her since she was born, has pushed her to try and do what she can for herself. School, though, has been terrible up until fifth grade, which is when the story takes place. Now there are some inclusion classes, there’s a special ed teacher who believes her students are capable of learning, and Melody gets her own aide, Christine, a college student. Things really start to look up for her when she gets a computer that can talk for her. Melody is alternately ignored and made fun of at school, and it’s not until the tryouts for the Whiz Kids quiz team that the other kids (and the teacher) are forced to recognize that maybe she isn’t an idiot after all. Melody, with her computer to help her communicate, gets all the questions right. The ending is good, because it’s not too pat. Review by Stacy Church

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