Thursday, July 1, 2010

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
March 2010
295 pgs.

Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.


  1. I like the personal relationships in this book, as well as the hope it gives of unseen abilities.

  2. This book would be fantastic as a kids' book group selection. So many open-ended question opportunities.

  3. Really enjoyed this one. Liked that things didn't all go well and kids acted like real kids.

  4. I really liked this

  5. I guess I'm going to be the opposing viewpoint on this one--I am almost finished w/ this one, and again and again, I find myself annoyed with the way the author is telling this story. Here are my criticisms:

    1. It's very difficult to tell from the author's voice, dialogue, clothing, EVERYTHING, when this story is taking place. I'm 3/4 of the way through and just now realized that this is in modern times--so much of the slang used is 80s or 90s slang, and the way she describes the clothes is very 80s or 90s.

    2. Additionally, the fact that no adult in this child's life seems to have any sense about the technology that's available to her is kind of ridiculous--cerebral palsy has existed in the public consciousness for years, yet Melody's doctors can't seem to realize that she's intelligent or even that w/ her disease she can't stack blocks. Really? The fact that no one helps her communicate until she's 11 is unrealistic--because the mom is a nurse, the next door neighbor is a trained nurse and has worked with disabled children...I can't suspend my disbelief this far. Frankly, I'm surprised that so many readers enjoy this book--although young people might not realize just how far-fetched this story is. 2 parts of the book ring true to me--the family relationships, and the way kids act at school. Those elements are very believable. If this book gets any kind of recognition from the Newbery Committee, I will be very surprised. It reads like a made for TV movie and is maudlin and predictable.

  6. Interesting critiques which make good points -- but I still loved this book. It made me so vividly aware of the thoughts, the whole worlds, which go on behind the facades which separate us from others - disability, ethnicity, age, class - and made me want to figure out how to overcome them. In spite of some trite plot elements, this book changed the way I look at the world, which is a powerful effect.

  7. I agree; and I think children will gravitate to this book. I just don't think it deserves the Newbery.