Out of my Mind - Sharon M Draper
Probably not a coincidence that when you search this novel on Amazon, Wonder is directly below it. This is a classic 'If you liked Wonder, you should read Out of my Mind'. Not sure what novel came first, but I just read Draper's novel this summer.
If the cover is any indication, this novel is smart, thought provoking and emotion stirring. You could read the first section and spend days just discussing the cover! I might even venture to say we really get into the mind of Melody, more than we may have with Auggie? Don't hate me for saying that. I will be pushing this novel as required reading for the upcoming school year. I know an adorable pair of kids (7 & 9) who would love this book as much as teens, parents and grandparents.
Melody is a child confined to a wheelchair and a life where she is unable to speak and therefore greatly underestimated in school. She has so much to say and no outlet in order to speak. She is brilliant and wise but sits in school learning the alphabet (and some crazy songs) year in and year out. Her descriptions of these interactions are funny and sad at the same time. We often say it takes the right teacher to light a spark in some kids. Imagine if you (Question to pose to your students) had that spark already and no one knew? How frustrating would that be? Patience in the face of frustration is what Melody practices until she realizes what she needs in order to turn her life around.
Who doesn't love an underdog who comes out on top? Well you aren't going to have the problem all neatly tied up in this novel. Real life is what you get with Ms. Draper's novel. What a great lesson to be taught? IT doesn't always end the way IT should. There are ups and downs and highs and lows. That's life. You cheer for Melody but the ending is so appropriate and REAL.
Parents of special needs children, teachers and students will cry, laugh and shake their heads. They will have more questions than answers. It's just that great. I have a firm belief that the kids of today will become better teachers of tomorrow. Parents and teachers: read this novel to your kids, they will love you for it.
Mrs D recommends this as a GREAT September read aloud. Read it first and refer back to it all year long!