OUT OF MY MIND
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010
IL 5-8, RL 4.3
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.
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)
Cerebral palsy -- Fiction.
People with disabilities -- Fiction.
Communication -- Fiction.
Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.
Genius -- Fiction.