Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It is hard to properly explain the magic of this book. From the opening line to the closing pages, Out of My Mind is a work of art that is both important, beautiful, and timeless. The author, Sharon Draper, has written many books. I know this only because I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at a conference that I was working. Little did I know that her keynote was only the tip of the iceberg of the power that she possessed.
This book is about a girl named Melody with severe cerebral palsy. She cannot walk. She cannot feed herself. She cannot move. Most of all, she cannot talk. But she hears everything, sees everything, and understands everything. Her memory is a photograph and she treasures knowledge and learning. No one believes in her capabilities though. Instead of seeing who she is on the inside - a brilliant girl - they all see her on the surface. Kids at school only see her looks or her odd shouts or her inability to feed herself. There are a few champions that come into her life and recognize the fact that she is trapped inside a body that betrays her full capabilities.
The thing I did not expect from this book was the way it touched me. Draper has crafted a tale that touches the deepest part of ourselves. It asks us to look inside of ourselves and see us through Melody's eyes. How do we interact with those who have no way of communicating with the outside world? With those who have been born into a world of struggle and disability that we have no idea of truly comprehending? They are hard questions, but questions that need to be asked because those who are handicapped are all around us.
The book is a breeze to get through - the reading level of the book is meant for anyone in grades 4 or above. But I am so glad that even though it is a "children's book" I picked it up and read it because it taught me something and opened my eyes even more to a world that I largely forget. And I hope that at some point, everyone will have a chance to pick up this book and have their eyes opened as well.
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