Thursday, November 9, 2017

Out Of My Mind By: Sharon M. Draper

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.

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

This review will be focused on the book titled Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper.  Out of our entire reading list, this is the book I was most excited to read.  I was disappointed that is was our last book assigned because I was so excited to read it.  However, I think that fact ended up working in my favor because I do not feel that I would have liked any of the other books as much as I ended up liking them simply because I would have compared them all to this book which I love!

Out of my Mind is about a young girl, named Melody, who has Cerebral Palsy.  Melody cannot walk, talk, feed herself or do anything to care for herself like abled body people.  Melody is extremely intelligent, has a photographic mind and is so conscious of herself as well as others.  The problem is that Melody is also non-verbal so she has very limited communication with those around her.

After seeing a classmate who gets a laptop computer for Christmas and realizing the computers capabilities, Melody wonders if there is a computer out there that can help her with communication.  Soon Melody had her Medi-Talker and a completely new world of information, education and communication open up to her.

Melody soon discovers that her school will be entering a Whiz Kids Quiz competition which she wants to be a part of.  Melody has been filing all types of facts and information for years that no one realized was there due to her being non-verbal.  This quiz competition is the perfect outlet to show people what she is really made of.  Melody joins the practice session and aces the test.  To her dismay, she is accused of cheating by her classmates and even belittled by her teacher because they all assume that the poor girl in the wheelchair is also plagued with stupidity.  Through a lot of trial and error and a lot of proving of herself, Melody makes the final quiz team.  Together, they win their state competition and qualify to move on to the national competition in Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, Melody still has to face the preconceived notions of her classmates and even her teacher.  Melody’s team and her teacher failed her by continuing to disregard the fact that Melody is much more than just a girl in a wheelchair.  By sheer cruelty and lack of respect, the team leaves Melody behind when they travel to Washington, D.C.  Melody is further set back by weather and miles that prevents her from reaching the quiz competition site.

This of course crushes Melody on many levels.  Her hurt and anger are further compounded when her inner strength says she needs to attend school so her classmates and teacher realize that she may be down, but she certainly is not out.  As Melody and her mom are leaving the house, Melody realizes that her baby sister has run out to the car.  Melody sees what is happening and tries to tell her mother the best that she could, but her mother misinterprets Melody’s fit as an outburst centered on what happened to her the previous day.  Melody’s baby sister is ran over by the car and is pretty injured.  Luckily, the sister survives.

Come Monday morning, the remainder of the quiz team is back at school with their 9th place finish trophy.  Through a lot of guilt and hopefully some honest disgust with their own behavior, the quiz team and their teacher, offer Melody the trophy as an apology.  Melody looks at the cheap trophy and knows that together, the team was better than 9th place, and she knows that she is better than 9th place.  She does not want their pity trophy so she knocks it off the desk, breaking it into several pieces and she says her final words to them as she rolls out of the classroom.  Melody advocated for herself and put them in their place.  A place that they needed to be put into.  That quiz team and certainly the teacher needed to be knocked down a peg, and humbled a bit.  I think Melody made her point clear; the “stupid” girl in the wheelchair did not need the quiz team, the quiz team needed her.

I loved this book.  I laughed, I cried, I hugged my book and occasionally I wanted to throw my book across the room in anger.  I know that this book likely touched me like no one else in our class.  This book paralleled my life growing up with my sister, Heather, who also has Cerebral Palsy, is wheelchair bound, is non-verbal and who cannot feed or care for herself.  Our family, especially Heather, heard all the same bologna about what Heather was or was not capable of because of her condition.  We saw the people stare, snicker, make comments or protect their children from “contracting” what Heather has.  We heard the opinions of how she was retarded and would amount to nothing.  With the exception of one of our siblings being ran over in our own driveway, our family pretty much experienced everything that Melody’s family experienced.

Heather did not join a quiz team while in school.  However, my sister, Heather, was prom queen at her prom, she graduated high school, she has given the keynote speech (with her communication device) during the opening ceremonies at the Special Olympics and Heather was honored while in school as being in the top ten in academic rankings.  Heather has gone on to run her own Avon business and she currently advocates for women who have been sexually abused.  Many times, Heather’s advocacy group has presented right here at Siena Heights University!  Heather is a wonderful Aunt to my children and has been an awesome sister.  My life would not be as rich without her, nor would I be the person I am today without the wonderful experience I had of growing up with a special needs sibling.  Heather is a treasure, just like Melody is in this book.  I feel this book depicts an accurate reality of what many special needs individuals go through on a daily basis.  I appreciate that Sharon Draper was able to bring this story to life, and in such a realistic way.  This story can educate others too if they just take the time to read it.

Therefore, I think it is safe to say that my personal comments on this realistic fiction book are nothing but flattering.  I even like how you eventually find out how the cover art of the fish jumping out of the bowl is interwoven throughout the story.  Although the cover art is the only illustration throughout the book, it certainly helps to bring the story full circle.

I would recommend this book for upper elementary and above.  I think there is a real lesson for kids starting at that age range as they start to view people and the world differently.  Children this age are noticing differences and are starting to question the world.  This book could have a lot of value if presented for a social studies activity or even as a bucket filler activity.  What I know for sure, through personal experience, is that this book has a ton of value within its pages.  The lessons it teaches are lessons that will serve any human well from childhood through adulthood.

Out of My Mind

Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper

Melody has lived on the Earth for 11 years and is in her final years of elementary school. She has a dog named Butterscotch and a little sister named Penny. She is also extremely gifted with a photographic memory and can see colors when she listens to music. However, something is very different about Melody because she has Cerebral Palsy. This disability forces her to be wheelchair bound with extremely limited control of her limbs. However, what torments Melody the most is that she cannot talk. However, she is able to ‘speak’ with the help of a specialized computer, and not everyone likes what she has to say.

When I read this book, there was no way I would put it down. Melody’s struggle as a severely handicapped person felt genuine, as though everything that went right or wrong in her life was also happening in my life. This book is emotionally charged, which makes it such an excellent read for anyone from 10-15 years old. I believe that the book itself is extremely simple, but the subject it covers is very important for everyone to learn about. Almost every school has a child with ASD, or some other mental or physical disability, and not every child (and even adult) understand how their minds work. This is apparent in the emotional abuse which Melody encounters almost everywhere she goes. Having a broken body makes it very hard for her to display her intelligence, and so everyone from doctors to classmates treat her as though she cannot learn.

The artwork on the cover of this book is perfectly representing of the plot of the book. Melody’s goldfish, Ollie, is stuck in a tiny plastic fish bowl for two years, before finally jumping out and gasping to go back in the water. Melody encounters the same problem as she can finally talk, and as a result is crushed beyond her wildest dreams. However, once melody leaves her fish bowl, it is up to her whether she drowns or flies

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is about a girl named Melody Brooks who has cerebral palsy. Her body is uncooperative and she is unable to speak.  She grew up with people thinking she was mentally challenged. She later received a computer to help her communicate better but still didn't really listen to her because of her disability. She has a neighbor name Mrs. V., who was tough but helped Melody when she was three years old. She helped her do things so she didn't have to rely fully on her parents.

When she entered fifth grade she was allowed to join normal classes. She loved the classes but she was made fun of for being different. Even her teacher made her not do any in-class participation because her teacher believes she couldn't do anything. After getting the highest score on a test they thought different of her.

This book is a great book to show that even when someone has a disability that they should not be treated differently. It shows that they can conquer difficulties that they deal with. It would be a great book to have a class read to teach them not to treat people with disabilities badly. The cover of the book is a great representation. It shows that the fish is her and she escaped her "bowl" and that she is free from her difficulties.

This book will be good for fourth graders and higher. It can work for even adults. Its great book to learn lessons on how to treat others with respect.


Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Image result for out of my mind
Out of my Mind, written by Sharon M. Draper, is absolutely incredible. All 295 pages are filled with wonderful words and exciting adventure. The book follows the life of a young girl with cerebral palsy. She loves words of all sorts. Since she cannot talk or do really anything physically, she might seem incapable. But in reality, and thanks to this book’s inside look, it's easy to see that she has consumed everything that has ever happened to her and every word she’s ever heard. Beautiful Melody has a loving mom and dad who take great care of her. At first, they are unsure about having Melody as a daughter, but soon enough they realize just how smart she truly is. Even though she cannot speak, she talks with her eyes and her limited physical movements, such as the outbursts she has for every emotion. When she is little, her parents bring home Butterscotch and the dog becomes Melody’s everything. Having a strong and wonderful woman for her mother, Melody goes to school! She is put in classroom H-5 with other students with special needs, and they become a little family. After school on most days, she goes across the street to her amazing neighbor Mrs. Violet Valencia’s house. Mrs. V is an absolute blessing to Melody’s life. She knows just how smart Melody really is, so she works with her on communication. Mrs. V creates a way for Melody to communicate with her thumbs and a list of words also known as her vocabulary. When she gets to be eight years old, her parents have a baby named Penny who can do everything Melody cannot do. Nonetheless, Penny loves “Dee-Dee” and they are truly real sisters. In the fifth grade, Melody gets a one-on-one aide who takes her to inclusion classes, something Melody and her parents had been waiting for forever! In addition to an aide, Melody gets a machine she calls Elvira. The machine helps Melody do something she hasn’t ever been able to! Catherine, the aide, treats Melody like any other student, and the two become great friends. Melody starts to experience the same things as other students, such as being made fun of and struggling socially. Melody makes a friend in a girl named Rose who sees Melody for the smart and cool girl that she is. In fifth grade, Mr. Drumming, one of her inclusion classroom teachers, announces tryouts for Whiz Kids. Melody has so much information to share with the world, that she tries out and joins the team! She is beyond excited because she has a purpose and is encouraged to keep studying and learning. She goes on stage to compete for the school with her three teammates. She is in the spotlight and so beyond excited to be on stage. In front of the camera and answering every question the best she can, Melody…

I recommend this book for students in the upper elementary grades and on. This book was so inspiring and emotion-filled. I think it will give readers a new perspective on life inside a student with physical disabilities. This book would be great to read to a classroom of students, and then discuss the big events and the importance of acceptance.

This book is fiction, but it has totally real experiences and ideas. The perspective of Melody is unlike any book I have ever read! The characters were so real and I truly felt that I was in Melody’s shoes throughout the book.

Overall, I was blown out of my mind by the book Out of my Mind. It was beautifully written and emotionally exciting. I do not think I have ever read a book from the perspective of a student with disabilities. From the way that Melody observes and tells her story, she seemed like any other girl. I really connected to this book. I was incredibly blessed to read this story about a young girl with a dream. Read the book to find out if Melody’s dreams come true, and get your heart squeezed while doing it!


Out of my mind; Sharon Draper

 Out of my mind is a story about a young girl named Melody who has a photographic memory and is quite frankly the smartest kid in her grade, but no one believes it.  Her teachers and doctors think that she is unable to learn so she gets put into a class where they learn the same thing every day.  Melody is disabled so she is unable to walk, talk or even write. 

She gets made fun of a lot of the time for being different from the other kids at her school. One day Melody aces a test in her class and she is the only one who does, in fact she gets the highest score on the test. People then take her seriously and realize that just because someone is disabled doesn't mean that they are "stupid" and less smart than others. 

While there are no pictures in this chapter book I feel that the cover art is such a powerful message to not only Melody but to other kids who struggle with disabilities. The fish is leaping out of the bowl which I would say is it's comfort zone. Melody has to come out of her comfort zone when she proves to everyone who she truly is and that she is smart and not just a disabled girl who takes up space. I would recommend this book for students that are in 4th-6th grade, students in that age range are learning that not everyone is the same so they should not be bullying others and respect who everyone is and what they like. 


Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Jacobson

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Jacobson is an emotional book about mental illness and has a little bit of adventure. It's about a boy named Jack Martel who with camping with his mother when one day he wakes up one day during the trip with his mother, tent, and the car is missing. He believes that she will be back from somewhere shortly. After a while, he figures out she was not coming back to the campsite so he goes out to look for her.

He meets a lot of kids and adults that try to help him in his adventure. He visits an animal park to see the elephant named Lydia because they are his favorite animal and he also remembers a time he had with his mother that was not a good time. Which makes him worry that his mother disappearing is his fault. He meets a man called Big Jack who explains that it's not his fault and tells him there is someone that will take care of him. He visits Lydia again and sees that his grandmother is there waiting for him. She tells him that his mother is at the hospital so she can get better. 

This book is a great book to explain that there are kids in real life that deal with situations like Jack. It also explains about mental health issues that people go through and that they deal with the problems sometimes in complicated ways that can affect family members in a hard way. 

This book can be from third grade and higher. It can help them understand how to deal with a situation that they might encounter. It is a very creative book and has a great adventure to it.