When I read a really good book I want to savor it like a hot fudge sundae. Take small, bitty bites and swirl it around my mouth until the vanilla and hot fudge sauce blends together in one delicious chocolaty flavor.
The book, Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper tastes to me like a hot fudge sundae. I slowed down so I could really savor the words, plot and rhythmn of the story. While I associate food with reading, Melody associates music with colors and feelings throughout the book. Her Mom loves classical music while Dad enjoys Jazz. "Those pieces seem to be bright blue as I listen, and they smell like fresh paint. Dad is partial to jazz... Jazz to me sounds brown and tan, and it smells like wet dirt." (p. 6) Happy feelings are yellow and smell like lemons. Sad feelings are gray with no smell.
This powerful story revolves around Melody who has a photographic memory and cerebral palsy which means she cannot talk or move. Confined to a wheelchair she can only utter a few "uh" type words. Her Mom usually figures out what she wants but most don't. Most think she is an idiot. She gets a computer board that allows her to "talk" and her world is radically changed as she communicates with the people around her. People discover that Melody is very, very bright. Melody begins to make friends, enters a Whiz Team competition with classmates, and has to deal with many unique issues that revolve around her disability.
When Melody's sister Penny is born, Melody has to deal with her feelings of having a sister who is "normal." Penny offers some comedic relief in the story. Melody describes her: "Penny zoomed around like a windup toy" and she has a stuffed animal she lugs around called, Doodle, but when she says the word it sounds like "Doo-Doo" which makes Dad "crack up."
In a dramatic climax that involves Penny and the Whiz Team, Melody has to decide what is important in life and what defines a friend.
I really liked that the Mom and Dad are portrayed as caring parents who work really hard to give their daughter with a disability a life that is "normal." In real life, the author has a child with a disability and it comes through with her compassionate portrayal of Melody's family.
Sit down with this book and savor it.
Reading Level 4.7
:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) 5 Smileys
If you liked this book try Rules, by Cynthia Lord or
The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron