Courage. Communication. Friendship. Being left out. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper explores these themes with a beautiful touch. Listen: “Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes–each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands.” This is what is trapped inside Melody, a brilliant eleven-year old with a disabled body that won’t allow her to communicate.
Out of My Mind gives us a portrait of strength despite the circumstances, or maybe in spite of the circumstances. Melody is surrounded by a loving family and finally a good teacher who pushes for inclusion in the classroom. Mrs. V, the neighbour and care giver is quite possibly the only person who truly recognizes Melody’s abilities and potential and never pities Melody. When Melody receives an electronic talking device, she can now express herself which should have been a pure joy, however, her classmates still focus on her differences. Even when Melody proves her smarts by joining the quiz team, she gets excluded.
Heart-breaking and necessary, Out of My Mind will change our ideas about people who have disabilities. Use this discussion guide for teaching extensions.