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Out of My Mind

by Sharon Draper

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2010
295 pages
ISBN: 9781416971702

Ages 10-13

Melody is a fifth grade girl with severe cerebral palsy. She has never been able to speak—words come out as guttural sounds. Although Melody’s parents can’t always understand her, they do recognize her intelligence. To almost everyone else, including the kids and most teachers at her school, she is incapable of thought and essentially invisible. The smart, funny girl she is can finally emerge from silence when Melody acquires an electronic voice, allowing her to program words and “speak” for herself. Determined to prove what she can do, Melody tries out for her school quiz bowl team and aces the exam. Her inclusion on the team is met with skepticism by some, but others welcome her, including a girl who becomes her first school friend. Still, things are far from perfect; there is prejudice and hurdles and heartbreak that even words can’t overcome, along with a heartrending scene in which she needs her “voice” at a moment when she doesn’t have access to it. But Melody’s world opens up. More important, the world opens up to her in Sharon Draper’s profoundly affecting novel. Told in Melody’s first-person voice, the story relates details of family and school life from Melody’s unique, memorable, eye-opening perspective. (MS) ©2010 Cooperative Children’s Book Center


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