Sunday, November 4, 2012

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper - Caudills 2013

Sharon Draper's amazing point of view novel about 5th grader Melody is one of my favorite Caudill nominees.  Melody has been trapped in her body by severe cerebral palsy all her life making it impossible for her to move or communicate. Although her family believes she is so much more that her physical self would have you believe, everyone else thinks she is severely mentally disabled.  In fact, Melody is actually mentally gifted having taught herself to read in several languages just by watching television. She knows about science, social studies and the world around her. It isn't until a teacher at her school gets her a speech synthesizing computer that suddenly Melody's world opens up.  But not everyone is ready for spunky, big personality Melody who does not want anyone's pity or fake friendship.  One of the great aspects of this story is that it has a realistic ending: not all the issues get neatly tied up. Melody's life will continue to have challenges and pitfalls. Any reader who gets to know her will have their eyes and heart opened about disabled classmates as well as the importance of each person finding their voice.

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