Out of my mind was written by Sharon M. Draper and was published in March of 2010. This is a realistic fiction novel about a young girl who has cerebral palsy. The novel is a higher level book that could be read by children ages five and up. If this book was put in a classroom it would be best from fifth through eighth grade, but even high school students would most likely enjoy this book. This book covers the social bias that is associate with many children and people who have disabilities. The book also covers the physical problems and stress that come with having and being a child with disabilities.
Out Of My Mind is an older children's novel about an eleven-year-old girl named Melody. Melody is not a "normal" child because she has cerebral palsy. She is not able to do anything herself, walk, or talk. For all of her life she has been in a wheelchair and reliant on everyone else. Now, even though Melody cannot talk she is a lot smarter than most children older than her. This is because for eleven years she had been spending all of her time listening to everything around her. Because she cannot talk, Melody had a tray attached to her wheelchair that allows her to point to words so she can communicate. However, she was restricted to only a few choice words that others think she needs to say.
Even though Melody knew she was very smart others did not really think she new anything. The doctor that she went to wanted her parents to send her away so that she was not a burden because she would never become anything. This was the feeling of many that came acquainted with Melody. However, her neighbor Ms. V believed in her so much that she spent a lot of time teach Melody new things. One day Melody was told about a technology that would allow her to say what she wanted just by pushing on the correct word. This technology really helped Melody achieve, but there were still many struggles in her life.
At school she was not treated or included like others. She was in a special needs classroom and every year the students would be given a new teacher each year. The problem with that was the teachers did not always care about the students, they were just there because someone needed to be with the children. One day all of the students in the special needs classroom were told that each day they were going to be able to go to "normal" classrooms to be with the other students. During one of the inclusion classes Mr. Dunning, the teacher, said they were going to have tryouts for the quiz whiz team. This years winning team would get to go to Washington DC and would be able to be on the morning tv show. Melody decided that she wanted to try for this team, so she stayed after school to take the test. The first test she passed with flying colors, but the teacher and everyone else believe that her helper had helped her cheat on the test. However on the next test, to get members on the team, Melody had her helper leave the room and once again she passed with the highest score.
Because of how well Melody did she made the team. Still no one treated her like a "normal" child, but she enjoyed doing the quiz questions and being around the other children. After a lot of studying with her family and after school quizzes Melody was finally ready for the quiz whiz competition. This competition went very well and Melody's team won and they were going to get to go to Washington DC. Melody was very excited about this and the night before the flight she was very anxious. Finally the morning came and her family headed off to the airport. Unfortunately when they arrived at the airport they were told that the flight was cancelled due to bad weather. When the airport lady heard what they were going for she informed them that the whole team had arrived early and were put on an earlier flight. This upset all of Melody's family, but because they could do nothing about it they went back home confused and hurt.
Melody spent several days lying in bed sad because of what had happened. However, a couple days later her mom came in to wake her up to see if she wanted to go to school. Melody was determined to go, even though her mom wanted her to stay home. This was also a bad day for the mom because she was supposed to get a day off but the hospital called her and asked her to come in. It was also raining a lot and the day was very glum. Finally, her mom got her in the car and they were ready to go, but she forgot her backpack so the dad stood on the front porch holding her bag up. The mom ran out to get it and the day and Melody's little sister headed back in. Unfortunately, the little sister got out and the mom did not see the little girl run behind the car. Luckily the little girl ended up okay but because Melody could not talk she was not able to tell her mom.
The book ended with Melody standing up to the teammates that left her at the airport. While all of the students felt bad for what they had done, Melody decided it was not worth it and a part of her just realized that she was never going to be like them but that does not mean that she is not special to someone.
This novel does not have have any images placed throughout. The cover is the only page that has any type of image on it. On the front cover there is a fish tank and a goldfish flying out of the fish tank. The background of the cover is all blue and the only colorful part on the cover is of the goldfish, everything else is a shade of blue. I think that this cover is very important to the book because the way Melody is treated and what she cannot do makes her feel like she is a fish out of water. This also connects to a part in the novel because she used to have a fish until one day the fish decided it did not want to be in the water anymore. The fish flung itself out of the tank and lied on the table flopping out of breath. Being that Melody is not able to talk she was not able to get anyone to come in time to save the fish. These are the two reasons why I think there is a fish flying out of a fish tank on the front cover.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. At first I was hesitant to read it just because I was not sure what was going to happen. I love how Melody finally stands up for herself and accepts who she is. This book really put in perspective what it is like to be a child with disabilities. I had always known that children with disabilities had it harder than others, but I never really knew what it was like to be in their shoes. I would definitely read this book again and I would like to read more books like this because they really speak to me.