BKRV: Out of My Mind

written by Sharon M. Draper

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper is a very deep and thought-provoking book about an 11-year-old girl named Melody who has Cerebral Palsy. Melody isn't able to walk, talk, or write. However, she has a photographic memory: her brain remembers everything she hears and sees.

Melody states that her words pile up in huge mountains and drift in her brain, but they stay inside of her mind and she can't express them. She is very smart, but she has a hard time showing this to others. The only way Melody can communicate is by assembling laminated words on a tray attached to her wheelchair.

For all of Melody's school life, she has been in a special education program at Spaulding Elementary School. When she finally gets to fifth grade she starts "inclusion classes," in which special ed kids and "normal" kids learn together. Suddenly, in these classes, all of Melody's dreams of speaking to others and showing off her knowledge come true.

A couple days after Thanksgiving break, Melody explains to her class aide that she wants to have a computer, just like her friend Rose whom she met during one of her inclusion classes. This technology is what enables her to reach out to others.

The Medi-Talker, as the device is called, fits right into Melody's life. It is a wheelchair attachment that allows her to form sentences with words she's programmed into the computer. The Medi-Talker then speaks her words aloud. Using this device, Melody finally feels like one of the "normal" kids.

During her history class one day shortly after Melody gets the device, her teacher Mr. Dimmings announces his plans to assemble and train a team of kids for a big trivia competition call the "Whiz Kids". Melody thinks of this opportunity as a way for her image to change from the "dumb kid" with Cerebral Palsy to a "normal" fifth grader who is capable of anything, including outsmarting her peers.

I recommend this book to middle schoolers who enjoy sentimental stories. I rate the book nine out of 10 stars - only because I wish there were a sequel. Out of My Mind is an awesome book that made me have all the feels. I will certainly read this book over and over again and I hope you do too.

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