Melody lives pretty much at the whim of everyone. She can’t feed herself, go to the bathroom by herself, dress herself, or, and this is what hurts her the most – talk for herself. As a young girl, she realized very quickly that her body wouldn’t do what she wanted it to. That is because Melody has Cerebral Palsy.
Her parents adore her and with with the assistance of a fabulous neighbor who is a family friend, Melody’s world is only limited by the physical. She is an engaged girl who wants to learn and learn more! Because she has basically no control over her body, except for her thumbs, she has a very hard time communicating. She’s never been able to have an actual conversation with her parents. She is limited to pointing to her word board, and as she gets older, she and those around her realize this is limiting her interactions with everyone.
All that changes in fifth grade when she gets a new assistant, named Catherine at school, and a special education teacher who knows Melody needs more from her school. Melody begins to get included in the regular education classes. There Melody realizes how limited her world has been. And when she and Catherine find a machine that will allow Melody to actually have a voice and have conversations with people she feels an unbelievable excitement.
In Melody’s Social Studies class, she learns of an opportunity to participate on a Quiz Team for the school. After years of watching and absorbing all the information she can, Melody is a shoo in for the team. However, both the teacher in charge and the other students in the school don’t seem as sure of having her on the team.
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper explores what it means for a person trapped in their physical form and how those around them can help them either continue to feel trapped, or help set them free.
Recommended for grades 6th and up.