Friday, March 19, 2010

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

"Words. I'm surrounded by thousands of words. Maybe millions."

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Summary: 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.

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 288 pages


Anonymous said...

Yes! I love this book.
- Ms. Martha

Mary W said...

I also thought this book was very good, but it did not have that Newbery feel to me. The book seemed very current in setting yet some things seemed 10-20 years old. Like why didn't Melody already have a computer? Couldn't she have easily gotten one and figured out how to use it when she was in preschool or first grade?
I really wanted her parents to sue the school for what Mr. Dimming did to her. There would have to be some consequences. Wouldn't the news media that interviewed her during the local competion have noticed that she did not compete in the nationals--and have wondered why?
It is very sad and disappointing to think that something like this could happen today, but that is how Draper portrays it.
This book did bring me close to tears because I felt so bad for Melody.

Laura said...

I just finished it, cried and blogged about it:

Rylin (Laura's Mom) said...

After Laura was so upset by this book I read it. I too was mad but, not because it was inaccurate, because it is so accurate. Many children right now not getting the AT (Assistive Technology) they need. Laura has never been in a self contained class, but only because we, her parents, used legal action to prevent it. She is now in a great school system experiencing many wonderful things, including academic competitions and peers that would not leave her. But, to many children are still missing these chances.

Peaceful Reader said...

This books sounds really good and I'm going to search my local library for it. Thanks for all these wonderful suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was excellent, original, and unfortunately completely believable (kids are cruel) has my vote for the Newbery this year. I think the frustrating parts will spark lively book talks and I hope teachers and librarians use this with their students.

DaNae said...

I really enjoyed this book, but being in education I found the situations contrived. There are laws to prevent most of what was discribed and in my experince too many dedicated teacher to let it. 6th grade grils love this book.

Jewel said...

I loved this book. I think kids will love it too.

Rachael said...

I completely loved this book, laughter and tears accompanied the reading.
I agree that there were some moments where I wondered why she didn't have a computer already, especially if it seemed as though the process to get it didn't take that long.
I was also completely taken aback by the things that Mr. Dimming said and did and surprised that Melody's parents didn't do anything about it.
Melody seemed like such a real person to me and I loved that.

Unknown said...

How skilled do you have to be to so believably create the thoughts of a person who has no access to expression for so long a period of time. I haven't read anything else this year that comes close to the literary skill required to write a book like this.

Accurate? Sadly, yes -- there are lots and lots of families who don't know their legal rights or are possibly too exhausted or "nice" to search them out. There are too many kids who are not included when they should be. And the aides and teachers who work so hard to help them are lovingly and accurately portrayed in this book.

But disability and teachers are not the only issues dealt with here. Fifth grade life in general is found on these pages -- written in a manner entirely appropriate for fifth grade readers. Hoorah Sharon Draper!

This book is a unique snapshot -- a literary accomplishment -- and should be appropriately awarded.

Deb said...

Sharon Draper does a masterful job of creating an incredibly real voice for a character who cannot communicate verbally; tremendous writing! Draper writes with great authority. And I did not find her portrayal of the public school setting to be unrealistic. (I have worked in the schools as well as public library settings.) Melody is a very real character - shown with all her flaws - and her story is compelling and honest. This title is definitely unique and distinguished.