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Draper, Sharon.
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010
IL 5-8, RL 4.3
ISBN 141697170X

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Melody, a ten year old with cerebral palsy,  is trapped in a body that leaves her unable to walk or to talk. Melody’s parents are convinced she’s intelligent and ignore a doctor’s advice to institutionalize  her at an early age. Mrs. Valencia , a next door neighbor who baby-sits Melody, sees the potential in her and challenges her physical abilities along with creating new ways for her to learn. Melody is sent to public school but because she can’t verbally communicate,  no one is aware of all the information locked in her brain. Melody is a collector of words: “cathedral, pomegranate, silky and iridescent” to name a few; all are precious to her.  Melody’s special needs class’s introduction to “inclusion class”  is a mixture of encountering children who are friendly to her special needs classmates and others who are openly cruel. As years go by Melody’s ability to communicate progresses from a communications board to eventually a talking computer, and she’s able to prove her high intelligence to the point of qualifying for the school’s quiz bowl team.
  This isn’t a book with a “happily ever after” ending, but it leaves you admiring a character who is determined to overcome the limitations of a disability and to stand up to the hurtful attitudes she encounters in the public life she wants to be part of.
  This book is great for opening discussions in families, in school, or in library book groups.  One person will read it and recommend it to others: you won’t be able to keep it on the shelf!  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Award nominee, 2011-2012)

Booktalk #2

Eleven-year-old Melody is unlike any girl you have ever met.  She has a mind like a video camera that has been recording since the day she was born.  The only problem is that she can't tell anyone what is in that mind, because Melody has never spoken a single word in her whole life, due to her cerebral palsy.  Melody attends a school where she and the other students who are not considered "normal" are grouped together in a class with a well-meaning teacher who treats them as if they were incapable of learning or even understanding anything.  But when fifth grade starts, everything changes:  Melody is assigned a new teacher, one who actually sees her as a person.  Melody is given a communication device, and for the first time she has a voice.  Unfortunately, not everyone around her is ready to hear or believe that voice, so Melody's struggles are far from over.  Read this wonderful story, and you will wish Melody could be your friend.  (Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards Program Booktalks 2012-2013)

SUBJECTS:     Cerebral palsy -- Fiction.
                        People with disabilities -- Fiction.
                        Communication -- Fiction.
                        Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.
                        Genius -- Fiction.

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