Monday, December 12, 2016

OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper


Out of My Mind

How can I review something that is so relatable, reflective, and accurate to my own life? How can I describe the great impact this book had upon me? Most importantly, how do I feel about this?

All my life, I have had cerebral palsy. This is the same ailment that Melody has in Sharron Draper”s “Out Of My Mind”. While Melody has a far worse case than I do, I can relate wholeheartedly to her. Many people rejected Melody’s intelligence, much like some rejected mine. She had people who supported her an saw her true potential,much like many people in my life did. Most importantly, Melody struggles to find her voice and to be heard. I can speak, but sometimes people refuse to be patent and actually listen to me, much like Melody. Whole I do feel horrible for Melody, I feel worse for the way people treat her with content throughout the novel. While reading this book, I could not help but to get caught up in my own reflection.

            I am one of the lucky ones, but this book shows that there is hope for all disabled people to rise above and become bigger that their limitations say they can be. To me, this is a perfect reflection of the challenges and struggles that millions of people might face every day. Many people have not gone through all the struggles that Melody did, bout many have experienced multiple of them.

            While children may benefit from this book the most, anyone can appreciate this story. In fact, this story could be a eye-opener for adults more than possibly children. I say this because the book shows how adults and their unique mentalities shape and impact Melody’s life. Also, Melody’s vast intelligence and wisdom makes her appeal to adults as well as children who might not understand the more complex themes of the story.

            This has inspired me to write not just for myself, but for those like Melody who can not seem to express themselves. I want to use my gifts to advocate for a more open and accepting world. If Draper is able to capture such a heartfelt reflection and inspire people to pursue their dreams. I want to be a part of it.

            I could write page after page about this wonderful book; button the end, I would simply encourage you to read it. If you have read it already, I would suggest that you share it with others. We need more people to be more aware and open. While you read it, I would like you to think about the thousands upon thousands of people who are like Melody, and what you can do to help them. I know from experience that it can sometimes be as simple as listening to what have to say.


Luke Durling



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Image result for a whole new ballgame  A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner

                A Whole New Ballgame is a fiction story about two boys and their awesome friendship. Although the book is fiction, the authors easy going writing style and relatable characters make it seem like you're living in Rip and Reds world even if for just a moment. It tells the story of two friends and one crazy fifth grade year. This is a great story about two boys who are best friends despite being a bit different. Red has autism but that doesn't stop him and rip from being best friends, which is a great topic to present to an older elementary group of students.
             
                This book follows best friends Rip and Red in what could be the craziest firth grade year in history. They both face huge changes when a new teacher , who is anything but traditional, becomes their fifth grade teacher. The boys soon discover that their new teacher is covered in piercings and tattoos and doesn't believe in homework assignments or tests. The boys don't know what to make of Mr. Avecedo! The changes don't stop there though. Turns out he is also the boys new basketball coach! Rip and Red are faced with so many new changes in their Fifth grade year its enough to throw anyone off their best game, but they handle it like the champs they are.

                I really loved this book, my youngest brother has mild autism but still has a bit of a problem with making and keeping friends, so this was a refreshing story for me and I plan on having him read the book as well. It is a really easy and fast paced read. Also the book can be given to boys who are interested in sports but may not enjoy reading. I love any book that opens a conversation of acceptance and inclusion of special needs students, so I really enjoyed this book.

               I would recommend this book to students around fourth and fifth grade and older. I would also suggest this book for any student interested in sports that doesn't necessarily enjoy reading. I would recommend this for them because the book keeps your attention, isn't all that long, and has a great pacing and story line. Just another example of a great resource for my future classes to use.

Emily Couture
Image result for out of my mind        Out of My Mind By Sharon M Draper 

                 This Book is a fiction book with a very realistic story line. The character begins to feel real throughout the book. Melody's story isn't one that couldn't happen in real life and is a very realistic story for many families. The topic of this book is something that I think is very important. It brings up a lot of stereotypes that our education system and culture have for special needs students, which is a very important dialog to open in classrooms. 

                 Melody was born with severe cerebral palsy and hasn't spoke a word the whole eleven years she has been alive. That doesn't mean that she doesn't understand the world around her though. Melody is extremely intelligent, but her body does not allow her to communicate "normally". She tries her best to keep her self controlled, but when something is really bothering her and she tries to communicate it just looks like a fit or tantrum. Despite all of this her parents refuse to send her to a special home and raise her themselves and even enroll her in public school. When Melody is in fifth grade her whole world changes when she is given a computer built just for her. This computer talks for her and opens a door for Melody, a door that leads to her inclusion in her schools academic challenge group. But getting on the team is the easy part. Many of the students and even her teacher don't think she is smart enough. This book follows one family on a roller coaster year through heartbreak, tragedy and celebration. 

               I personally loved this book. Inclusion is something I plan to stress in my future classroom. Having a brother with mild autism, I know a little bit about what students face when they are just a bit different than everyone else. This doesn't make them less though, and this book shows that in a great way. Melody is such a strong character you can help but root for her success and despise anyone who gets in her way.  I also really liked how realistic the book seemed. There wasn't any fluff or sugar coating yet the author still made it child friendly. Over all this is a great book and is something I hope to use in a class one day. 

                I would recommend this book for students in upper elementary, so around third grade and older. If someone wanted to use in it a younger classroom I think they could, but it would most likely need to be read to the students during some sort or reading or carpet time. 

Emily Couture

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME by Phil Bildner

A Whole New Ballgame

The struggles of understanding those who are different than them can be a challenge for most children. “A Whole New Ballgame” explores and sheds light on this by using a smile and straightforward story, while still maintaining a sense of appeal and reliability. The story follows fifth graders Rip and Red as they begin the new adventure in a school that has just suffered budget cuts. As a result, the school hired a more laid back and somewhat radical teacher, Mr. Acevedo, to take over some of the classes. This turns the twos expectations upside down. The change is ever the more difficult for Red,  who has autism. Not only has school changed, but the basketball team was also commandeered by Mr. Acevedo as well. As if this wasn’t enough, Rip gets teamed up with Avery, a tenacious and seemingly stubborn girl who uses a wheelchair, as his partner for the final project. Throughout the novel, they learn about one another and relies that they really are not all that different and that not all differences are bad.

            Bildner uses such simple language to sculpt his characters that you can seem to truly get to know them. In fact, I think the fact that this simplicity is what makes the book unique. It does not directly state the themes or have sudden epiphanies. He makes the reader think.

I have had multiple teachers like Mr. Acevedo, and they are some of the beseechers I ever had. Seeing this book praise that kind of unique teaching was a breath of fresh air for me. I really enjoyed.

            Probert’s art also brings a lot to the table. The sleek style adds to the cool and hip feel of the book. I think it also helps children visuals the story better by giving them base images to work with. Some of the text is incorporated into the art, giving the book a more journal-type feel.

            On a side note, I sympathize with Avery’s list in the book. Being a wheelchair user myself, I could not help but to chuckle with understanding at this. If You don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest you read the book. It would be best for third graders, but anyone could understand, appreciate, and love this book. Boo-yah!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Product Details
    Out of My Mind written by Sharon M. Draper is a type of realistic fiction. This book falls into this category because the events of this book could actually happen, but the story itself is not a true story. Out of My Mind is about a young  lady named Melody Brooks who has a condition called Cerebral Palsy.
     Out of My Mind is written from the point of view of Melody Brooks. Melody has Cerebral Palsy and has never spoken a word in her life, so the book tells all of the thoughts and feelings that Melody has during different events in her life. Melody is almost eleven years old and is writing this book as a fifth grade student at Spaulding Street Elementary.
     When Melody was younger her father would record everything that she would do, but when Melody continued to not show any improvement her dad stopped recording. Melody's mom was one person that always tried to do what was best for Melody. Melody always had the support of her next store neighbor Mrs. Violet Valencia who always pushed Melody to do more than anyone thought she could and also helped her learn many different words and Melody retained it all. Melody was very smart; she could easily retain any piece of information that came across. When Melody got to school age, her mom took her to get tested to see if Melody would succeed in a normal school or not. The doctor did many different tests that Melody could not do because of her condition. The doctor told Melody's mom that she would not succeed and she should just be sent away so that her parents can live a normal life. Her mother was mad and told the doctor that she was going to go enroll her in the public school near their house. Ever since that day Melody's life had been super hard. One of the best things in Melody's life was in fifth grade Melody got a Medi-Talker and was able to speak her first words to her parents. Nothing ever seemed to come easy to her and when something started going her way something else would make it go bad. Melody's life was quite an adventure but Melody learned a lot about herself and her new surroundings.
     I really enjoyed being able to read Out of My Mind. This book drew me in and made me feel like I was one of the characters in the book. There were many points when I had the same emotions that Melody had. Out of My Mind did a great job of creating images without having any pictures. There were many times that I could see exactly what was happening in the story. Out of My Mind is a very well written book that I personally found to be a great read.
     I would recommend students in grades 5 and up to read Out of My Mind. This book has many complex ideas that older students will be able to comprehend easily, which will help them get more out of the story. If a teacher wanted to use this book in a fourth grade classroom, they could but it would have to be read with the students so that the whole class is comprehending the story.

Jessica R.

Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper



Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper is New York Times bestseller. This is a fiction book that has realistic thoughts and characters. It teaches people how to overcome obstacles that are hard to face. Melody is an 11-year-old girl that has cerebral palsy and to some people is mute.

The main character melody starts school and it is very difficult for her. Her teacher treats her with the littlest of respect. He treats her like a nobody and because she is in a wheelchair and can’t speak, he thinks she doesn’t have voice. She is unable to share what she thinks at this point and can’t tell her teacher that she has already learned this material and knows it very well. She soon has discovered the media talker that allows her to talk to her teacher, friends and family for the first time and to finally be able to tell her peers what she thinks. Everyone was amazed that Melody knew so much information and they were in awe that she knew so much because this whole time they thought she was unable to do work or not know any of the information. As the story goes on, Melody overcomes some major obstacles in her life that no one thought she would every be able to overcome.

I really enjoyed this book and it had realistic information that any teacher could encounter in their classroom. The cover art to me doesn’t look like what the book would be about. It is very simple and elegant, but has a deeper meaning that relates to Melody. I would recommend this book for fifth graders and up. I wouldn’t read this book as a whole class book, but I would put it on a list of recommend books for my class. All in all, I thought it was a very easy read, but would play with your emotions with the events that had happened throughout the book.


Erin L

Out of My Mind by. Sharon M. Draper

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Out of My Mind by. Sharon Draper

The book title, "Out of My Mind" represents Melody's (the main character) struggle. Melody was born with Cerebral Palsy, which caused her to be completely non-verbal. Cerebral Palsy is a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination and/or other disabilities typically caused by brain damage before or at birth. The title indicates how badly she wanted to be able to express her thoughts and feelings but she just couldn't get them "out of her mind", she felt trapped in her own body. The cover art is an excellent symbol of how Melody may feel. A fish in a fish bowl, feels trapped and wants to be in a different, probably larger container with his friends, instead of feeling isolated. Melody experiences this isolated feeling throughout the story, in her school day and at home as well. 

When Melody was a young girl and her doctor diagnosed her with Cerebral Palsy, he recommended that she be put in a special home, so her parents wouldn't have to continuously take care of her every need. But her parents didn't want to do that to her, they loved Melody too much. When it was time for Melody to start school, they registered her at Spaulding Street Elementary School. This was a very, difficult time for her and her family because she was not like every other child in the classroom. The young kids didn't seem to accept her and the teachers had no idea how to teach her. They expected that Melody wasn't even able to learn, but what they didn't know was that she was actually very intelligent, she just couldn't verbalize it. 

When it came time for Melody to be in fifth grade, she developed the opportunity to be put into an inclusion classroom. Where she would learn with the "regular kids." But sadly, the students pretended like she wasn't even there. Some chose to not even remember her name. Finally, an amazing invention was discovered by Melody's classroom aide. It was called the Medi-Talker, it allowed Melody to finally express what she was thinking and feeling. Her classmates were in awe that she actually could express her ideas now. At Spaulding Elementary, there is team called Whiz- Kids where the most intelligent kids who pass two rounds of questions, get to participate in a competition in Washington DC.  Do you think Melody will get on the team? Will she finally be accepted?

I recommend this book for fifth graders and up, because of some of the vocabulary and understanding of Melody's disability. I personally, enjoyed reading this book, although I found it depressing about how Melody's classmates treated her. I felt bad for Melody and was cheering for her throughout the whole story. I believe this would be a great book to be in a classroom, to help students understand what other children may have to go through and make them aware of Cerebral Palsy.    

- Marley Griffith



Out of my Mind_Draper

Out of my Mind
By: Sharon.M.Draper
The book Out of my Mind written by Sharon Draper is a book about young children and different disabilities. This book is a great way to introduce how each person deals with the disabilities they might have; in particular, cerebral palsy. I really enjoyed the way that the author made the story first person narrative. Melody the main character is the child that is telling her story throughout the book, she explains everything that goes through her mind and life, keeping in mind that she is not able to communicate. Melody explains her life and the things that make her who she is throughout the book giving insight on her disability outside of her physical appearance. 

The beginning of the book starts off with how she would represent herself if she could speak, however, all she has is her stiff and unwilling body and not the ability to speak. Melody has the most intelligent mind; but she is stuck in it without being able to speak. Melody gets tired over the boring special education classes and not having the ability to let the other children and her parents know her opinions and the amount of knowledge she actually holds within. Towards the middle of the book Melody receives a computer that actually helps her speak and communicate with others. Mrs.V, Melody's neighbor, is a great person whom is the biggest helper in Melody's life. Mrs.V helped Melody learn to crawl and roll over when she was younger. She also helped her learn how to catch herself if she were to fall out of her wheelchair. However Melody's parents were still having to feed her and helping her change and use the restroom. Melody's mom becomes pregnant and Melody gets nervous that the baby will come out like her. Her mother has the baby and they are given the joy of having a healthy baby; however, Melody becomes jealous of her new baby sister. When Melody enters Fifth grade she gets a new teacher that brought along a program called inclusion, this gives the special education children the chance to be involved in regular classrooms and classes. Melody loves the classes, but she is given the dumb look from the students and teachers assuming that she is stupid and can not participate. Little do they know she was going to not only participate with the class, but also be able to pass a trivia exam with a perfect score. The next day Melody's mother is sick and not feeling well and Melody is upset that she can not go to school, she throws a fit and soon realizes that her little sister had slipped out of the house and was in the path of a car where she was hit and injured. Melody feels bad for not being able to help her mother with her little sister, but soon finds out that her sister is going to be fine. She also gets an apology from her class for assuming that she was stupid. 

I really enjoyed reading this book as it is in my interest area of special education. I enjoyed how the author had put Melody in her mindset and about her world around her. The plot of the book was focused around her home and school environment. I would recommend this book to young adults who are interested in disabilities as well as reading.  

Mackenzie Fisette

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper


 



Out of my mind by Sharon Draper is a novel about a little 11 year-old girl who’s name is Melody Brooks. Unfortunately, Melody has a very bad case of Cerebral Palsy.This poor girl is unable to walk and talk. Even though Melody has Cerebral Palsy, she is blessed with a photographic memory.Throughout the book Melody has to try to show the world just how smart she is. The book tells about the challenges that she faced throughout her life. One of the biggest struggle for her is that she struggled to communicate with her family. Melody's was presented with a computer which helped  express her ideas and allowed her to communicate with others easier. Using this computer she made the quiz team, which allowed her to show truly how smart she was. But after she made the team, some unfortunate events happen that crushes Melody’s spirit.    

I really enjoyed this book and from the sounds of it so did everyone else who also read it. This is one of the few books that made me never want to stop reading. You can't help but fall involve with Melody and everything that she has to go through The book has a very strong message about never giving up even when your faced with adversity. 
  I would defiantly recommend this book to everyone. I'm not a huge reader, but this is one book that actually sparked a interest in me. I would say this book would be best for students 5th grade and up.

-Logan M

Out of my Mind

                                                Out of My Mind
                                                By: Sharon M. Draper
Out of my Mind is about eleven-year old Melody who was born with cerebral palsy. Melody is completely non-verbal but is very intelligent. She has a phenomenal memory, but is unable to walk or hold a fork. Melody is trapped in her own body, and the world does not seem like a welcoming place. Melody’s parents enroll her in Spaulding Street Elementary School, where a new chapter of Melody’s life begins.
Spaulding Street Elementary was not a place where Melody was expected to learn at. Most teachers did not have high expectations and just kept going over the alphabet, this really irritated Melody. But there was no way for Melody to communicate this to her teachers. Some people in her life however, were different. Their neighbor, Ms. Valencia, didn’t give up on Melody, but encouraged her to grow and learn. She expanded Melody’s communication board and provided support at every step of her life.
By the time Melody was in fifth grade the school had a program where she participated in general classes with the “regular” kids. But still her teachers did not believe in her and not all the students were accepting of having Melody in their class. It wasn’t until Melody got a Medi-Talker (a computerized device that would let Melody speak for the first time in her life.). Once she received this she surprised her parents, teachers, and classmates with her intelligence. Her classmates allowed her to represent the school in the national Whiz-Kids competition in Washington DC.
But this never happened. Melody’s teammates and their teacher Mr. Dimming, flew the earlier flight to D.C. “forgetting” to tell Melody about the flight cancellation. This left Melody feeling devastated and helpless. As Melody was thinking about her failure, her mom was getting her around for school. It was a bad morning… Melody’s mom was rushing around and wasn’t paying attention. As she was backing out of the driveway she didn’t notice that her other daughter Penny, was following her. Melody saw Penny but was unable to communicate to her mom about her sister. Penny had to go to the hospital and had luckily survived the accident, and Melody’s story ended where it began.
The was a very lovely book and had a wonderful story. I would recommend this book to anyone from fifth grade and up. You might get away with reading it to third and fourth graders. I feel handicap-able students would really enjoy this book because they know what it’s like to be Melody. I really enjoyed how this book was told from Melody’s prospective, and think it is a great book for all.
-Morgan S. 

‘OUT OF MY MIND’ by Sharon M. Draper


‘Out of My Mind’ by Sharon M. Draper

Image result for out of my mind by sharon m. draper

 

Imagine thousands of thoughts and ideas rushing through your head and you want to express them in the worst possible way, but you are restricted to a wheelchair and are living with a disability that robs you of your speech and the proper ability of movement. This is exactly what young Melody has to live with. Since birth Melody has had what is referred to as cerebral palsy; she is confined to a wheelchair and her motor skills are limited forcing her parents to have to act as her body and help her in many ways.  Melody hates that she isn’t able to speak for herself and perform simple tasks that others take for granted.

When Melody was three, her neighbor, Mrs. Valencia, helped Melody develop the ability to crawl and roll over. I believe that this gave Melody the relief that she could do something without relying on the help of her parents.  However, there were still some things that she could just simply not do by herself. At eight years old, Melody’s parents were worried because the news that her mother was expecting another child made them question if they could handle a newborn and still give Melody the care and attention that she needed. Her parents wondered if the new baby would have the same robbing disability that Melody had. Unbeknown to her parents, Melody knew of their conversation and worry and she felt saddened. However to everyone’s relief, Melody included, when the baby was born she was healthy and without a disability.

When Melody reaches fifth grade she is in a class that involves both students with special needs, as well as “regular” students. Melody is treated differently by her peers; they don’t understand her condition and don’t know that behind her image there is a very intelligent and bright mind there. When Melody is given a test to determine whether or not she is qualified to take part in the schools club that is for academically advanced students, called Whiz-Kids, she passes it with 100%; Melody’s teacher and peers are stunned. Melody is accepted onto the team and even helped her peer reach it to the national competition level which is held in Washington D.C. Although Melody has proved her intelligence, her peers still do not fully accept her. When it comes to leave for Washington D.C. the class takes an early flight due to bad weather and neglects to inform Melody of their early departure. Therefore, Melody misses her flight and is unable to participate in the competition. When Melody is home with her mother, her little sister happens to wonder outside. Melody notices and tries to warn her mother, however her mother does not understand what Melody is trying to say. Melody’s sister is then hit by a car. Melody feels guilt by not being able to relay the message to her mother. Her sister is taken to the hospital and is going to be ok. Mrs. Valencia talks with Melody and insists that this was not her fault and she is not to put blame on herself. I believe that Melody took comfort in that discussion, and that her feelings were validated and understood.

This is truly a powerful story. I found it hard to put this book down. I was so fascinated by what was occurring in Melody’s beautiful mind. She was so intelligent for her age and was only seen for her disability. I feel as though the author did a fantastic job by having the reader connect with the character(s).  The illustration that is used for the cover of the book I feel paints a brilliant picture. I feel as though it relates Melody to being a fish trapped in a small glass fish bowl with everyone looking and staring at her; all she wants to do is jump out of her suffocating bowl and be seen for her true self. Melody has thoughts, ideas, and opinions and she wants them to be heard and acknowledged. My heart broke for Melody in many ways; however I have a feeling that she will remain strong.

I would absolutely recommend this book. I believe that this book would be a great read for any student in fifth-seventh grade. I feel that the students will be able to connect with Melody and learn from her as well. I hope that this book will allow individuals to look past a disability and look at the person for who they really are on the inside. I look forward to passing this book on to the next reader and I hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

 

-Mickenzee

Out of my Mind By: Sharon Draper

Image result for out of my mindOut of my Mind is a realistic fiction book about a very smart eleven-year-old girl, named Melody, with cerebral palsy. She is wheelchair bound and non-verbal. Forced to sit quietly in the special education class she can not stand it, she is tired of being treated as though she dumb. Doctors always told her parents she would not be able learn anything, but her parents always knew they were wrong. The book is all about all of the challenges she faces daily.
One day, her friend Rose came to school with a new computer, which made her want to look and see if there was a computer she could use to help her to be able to have more of a voice than what could fit on her board. She then is able to participate more in class. Participating, however, is not always easy for her, many of the students do not accept her or truly believe that she is smart. Molly and Claire's favorite thing to do seems to be making fun of her for the things she does and calling her out by saying that her aide is giving her all of the answers.
To show everyone how smart she is, her parents, neighbor, and aide decide she needs to try out for the school's Whiz Kids team after she got a perfect score on their practice test in class. Her teacher for the class however, was not so supportive. When she showed up for the tryout, the teacher tried to get her aide to take her back because he did not want her to get her feelings hurt. However, she once again got a perfect score and made the team. She still faces many challenges though even after being selected to be a part of the team though.
I would highly recommend this book to others. I would recommend this for upper elementary students. It could also possibly be something that a teacher reads to students in about 3rd grade. It is a great book to show the adversity students face, and not to judge a book by its cover. Many students did not accept Melody for who she was, they just saw her as the girl in a wheelchair who could not talk. Everyone assumed that she was not smart due to the fact she could not talk. I also believe this would be a good book for both special ed teachers and general ed teachers to read so that they can always remember that just because a student faces physical disables, that does not mean that they struggle mentally as well.
-Brittany H.
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Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper

This is realistic fiction because this is something that some children have to live with. For some children this disease is real and the struggles they go through because of this disease are the same as Melody from this book. The things children and adults go through because of this disease make life harder and seem unfair at times but what most don't know or realize is how smart people with cerebral palsy are.

The plot of this story is how Melody starts off not able to do anything for herself and relies on other 100% of the time then her neighbor Mrs. V makes Melody be more self sufficient. Though Meldoy has cerebral palsy she is very smart, she has a photographic memory which allows her to excel on tests when she gets placed in regular classes. The new special education teacher hired wants the students to have the opportunity to be in a regular class and see how they do in them. The students and the teachers think Melody is stupid but she isn't, she just has little mobility of her body. Melody's parents find out they are going to have another baby and worry that the new baby may end up like Meldoy, when the baby is born they find out that Penny is perfectly normal.

There aren't any illustrations in the book but the cover photo fits this book perfectly. The cover makes sense after you read the whole book because Meldoy is stuck just like a fish is stuck in a fish bowl. Melody is stuck in her head and can't escape but is smarter than you think.

I would suggest this for a 5th grader because some of the words in the book are more advanced and harder to understand. You would have to know what cerebral palsy is and what it looks like. This may be hard for any one younger than 5th grade to really understand unless they know someone close to them that has a disability.

I really liked this book and would read it again! This book caught my attention a lot because rhis has to do with children that I will be working with one day. I have worked with children that had this disease and they are very smart just struggle with physical activities on a daily basis. While reading this book all I could think about was the student I worked with that has cerebral palsy.

Marisa Cappelletty

Out of my mind By Sharon Draper

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This story is about an 11 year old girl named Melody, who was born with cerebral palsy. She is not able to talk and probably never will be able to, however, when she was younger her parents were able to get her a device that helps her communicate with others. Even though she is very intelligent her 5th grade peers and even her teacher didn’t think she was smart at all jut because of how she looked.
A neighbor of Melody’s, Mrs. V is a kind, but tough woman, who pushed Melody to do the best she can. Mrs. V. was not content to allow three year old Melody to rely on her parents for everything. So, Mrs. V. forced Melody to learn how to roll over and how to crawl. Mrs. V, even taught Melody how to catch herself whenever she fell from her wheelchair. These things helped Melody become more self-sufficient. However, Melody continued to be reliant on her parents to feed her, to help her go to the bathroom. This woman saw the potential in Melody and knew how intelligent she was and I think this really helped Melody in the long run. When Melody was 8 years old, her mother became pregnant and the whole family was worried the new baby might also have complications such as Melody. However, when Penny the new baby is born she is perfectly normal. As Melody had to watch her little sister grow and do the things she never could she felt a little jealous but she loves Penny and can see the happiness she also brings to their parents.
As Melody starts the 5th grade the new teacher introduces an inclusion program so special education students can go into the general classrooms along with aids. This was perfect for Melody because she was able to show how intelligent she was, finally. Her teacher still believes that Melody cannot participate because of her disabilities, but Melody surprises them all when she passes the trivia test with 100%. She then qualifies to be a part of the trivia team and proceeds to help them get to the finals in Washington D.C. However, on the day the group is to fly to Washington, Melody learns her flight has been canceled due to weather, but the rest of the team has made an earlier flight without her. The next day, it is raining and Melody's mother is tired, sick, and frustrated. Therefore, when Melody kicks, hits, and screams to warn her mother that Penny has slipped out of the house and is in the path of the car, her mother fails to understand. Penny is hit by the car and injured. Melody feels bad for not being able to warn her mother even though everyone, especially Mrs. V. assures her it is not her fault. In the end, Melody learns that Penny is going to be fine. Her class also apologizes for their lack of consideration toward her.

This book was incredible to read and it kept me interested. I think this book would be good for 5th grade and above. I really enjoyed that the story was from Melody’s point of view because many books are not able to show that side. Overall, very incredible and eye opening book!!

Amanda B
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Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

This book is realistic fiction because the things happening in the book could happen. They are using real places which makes this more realistic, also things like this happen to children even if we don't see it happen on an everyday basis.

The plot is Jack trying to get to his home in Boston. Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food.With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties - and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.

There aren't any illustrations in the book but the cover of the book is very simple. Something that catches the eye without being to distracting so those that really enjoy books will pull this one off the shelf. Even those that don't like books might pull this off the shelf because it seems simple and you may think this book is a simple read.

I would suggest this book for anyone in 6th grade. In 6th grade you are 10, 11, or 12, and would have some sense of direction on how to make it home without much help but you would still be scared to endure this journey alone. The students reading this would be able to relate to some of the things in this book and they would be able to comprehend the things happening in the book.

Overall I enjoyed this book and found it very interesting. I would recommend this to someone who wants to get in touch with their emotions.

Marisa Cappelletty

OUT OF MY MIND by SHARON M. DRAPER

Title: Out of My Mind, Author: Sharon M. Draper Melody is an eleven year old girl who was born with cerebral palsy. Although her limbs and voice may not work, she is extremely intelligent. Her memory is phenomenal but she can't hold a fork in her hand. One would think because she is mute and unable to move physically, that her brain would follow but that isn't the case. Even doctor's suggested her parents put her in a mental facility so they could move on and live a normal life. However, Melody's parents thought otherwise and did not follow the advice given to them.

When Melody started school Spaulding Street Elementary, it was nothing less than easy. her teachers did not have high expectations for her and taught her things she had already gone over a hundred times or more. Unfortunately, Melody was unable to tell her teachers that she was irritated and already knew the content. Then, Melody discovered the Medi-Talker device that allowed her to speak using a computer for the first time in her life. All of her classmates and teachers were amazed at the things Melody knew and could not believe how intelligent and wise she was as they portrayed her brain to be similar to her body. As the story goes on, Melody continues to surprise her classmates and also experiences some other hardships.

I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was very well composed and portrayed the true meaning of not judging a book by its cover. All of Melody's peers judged her based on her appearance and when she was able to communicate, their preconceived notions were proven otherwise. I would recommend this book for students fifth grade and up. I believe the message is such a powerful one that those who read the book should be able to comprehend it thoroughly.


MS