Out of My Mind
Melody is a fifth grader who remembers whatever she sees on TV. She is an astute observer of the people around her, but she cannot walk or talk or read or write or even point to things. In fact, her baby sister can communicate with most of the world more effectively than she can. When an opportunity to join the school's quiz team arrives, can Melody find a way to prove how much she really knows?
This is one of my favorite read-aloud books. It is an incredible look at Melody's unique challenges, and readers may be surprised at how many things they share with her, from finding friends to relating to teachers and parents. Beyond that, the story provides an opportunity to empathize with people who look different or who behave outside the norm, and to see their struggles and dreams. Although Melody's physical disabilities are an important part of her story, I love the book because her character is about much more than that. I also appreciate the other characters, including imperfect teaching and parenting choices, and peers who mean well without being heroes and peers who don't mean well without being thoroughly evil. This is realistic fiction that's realistic, and every reader can find something to appreciate here. Further, the issue of injustice is so integral to the plot that the book is useful not just to explore school social dynamics, but to connect them to related historical events.
"What your body looks like has nothing to do with how well your brain works!"
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