Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind

by Sharon M. Draper


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Over 1.5 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Out of My Mind and discovered the brilliant mind of Melody Brooks.

Out of My Mind spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list!

“If there’s one book teens and parents (and everyone else) should read this year, Out of My Mind should be it.” —The Denver Post
“A gutsy, candid, and compelling story. It speaks volumes.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“Unflinching and realistic.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Uplifting...This moving novel will makes activists of us all.” —Booklist (starred review)

From award-winning author Sharon Draper comes a story that will forever change how we all look at anyone with a disability, perfect for fans of RJ Palacio’s Wonder.

Eleven-year-old Melody is not like most people. She can’t walk. She can’t talk. She can’t write. All because she has cerebral palsy. But she also has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school, but NO ONE knows it. Most people—her teachers, her doctors, her classmates—dismiss her as mentally challenged because she can’t tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by her disability. And she’s determined to let everyone know it...somehow.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416971719
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,455
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.48(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Sharon M. Draper is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire, and was most recently awarded the Charlotte Huck Award for Stella by Starlight. Her novel Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and was a New York Times bestseller for over three years. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year. Visit her at SharonDraper.com.

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to Out of My Mind
by Sharon M. Draper

Discussion Topics

1. The novel opens with a powerful discussion of the power of words and language. How does this help capture the reader’s attention? What predictions can the reader make about the narrator of the story? What inferences can be made about the thought processes of the narrator’s mind?

2. In a world that does not work for her, what seems to cause the biggest frustrations for Melody?

3. Describe Melody’s parents. How do they learn to communicate with Melody and help her to overcome everyday problems? Why are those efforts sometimes a complete failure?

4. How does Melody feel about school? How does she fit in with her classmates and what makes her different from the rest of the children in H-5? What would be Melody’s ideal school situation?

5. Discuss Melody’s teachers since she began going to school. What does this say about her school system, or about attitudes at her school about teaching children with special needs?

6. Describe Mrs. V. What role does she play in Melody’s development? Why is she a necessary addition to Melody’s life?

7. What is significant about the story of Ollie the fish? How does Ollie’s life mirror Melody’s? Describe Melody’s feelings when she is unable to tell her mother what really happened.

8. Describe how the introduction of Penny as a character changes the family dynamics. Analyze Melody’s complicated feelings about her little sister.

9. How does the inclusion program change Melody’s school experiences? Describe both positive and negative results of the program. Describe Melody’s deep, unrealized need for a friend.

10. What does Melody learn about friendship during the trip to the aquarium? Make a comparison between Ollie’s life, the life of the fish in the aquarium, and Melody’s life.

11. How does Melody’s computer change her life, her outlook on life, and her potential? Why does she name it Elvira?

12. Why does Melody decide to enter the quiz team competition? What obstacles must she face and overcome just to get on the team?

13. What does Melody learn about friendship and the relationships of children working together as she practices and competes with the quiz team? What does she learn about herself?

14. What is ironic about the events at the restaurant after the competition? How does this scene foreshadow the events that led up to the airport fiasco?

15. Describe Melody’s feelings before the trip to the airport, while she is there, and after she gets home. How would you have coped with the same situation?

16. Describe Melody’s extreme range of emotions as she tries to tell her mother that Penny is behind the car. How did the scene make you feel?

17. Discuss the scene in which Melody confronts the kids on the quiz team. What is satisfying about how she handles the situation? What else might Melody have done?

18. Why is the first page repeated at the end of the book? How has Melody changed, both personally and socially, from the beginning of the book to the end?

19. How would this story have been different if it had been written from a third-person point of view; from the point of view of her parents, for example, or simply from the viewpoint of an outside observer?

20. Explain the title of the novel. Give several possible interpretations.

Activities and Research

1. Put yourself in Melody’s chair. Write a paper that tells what it would be like to be Melody for one day. Write about your feelings and frustrations.

2. Investigate the problems of children with cerebral palsy, especially those that are of school age. How does it affect the child socially, academically, and personally?

3. Investigate the possible causes of cerebral palsy, and what preventative measures, if any, can be taken by the mother.

4. Research current laws for inclusion of children with disabilities into classrooms. What effect, if any, do such things have on a school community?

5. Research current treatment options or communication devices for young people like Melody.

6. Write a letter to one of the characters in the book explaining your feelings about the events in the story. What advice would you give Melody, Rose, Mr. D, or Mrs. V?

7. Describe the relationship between the able-bodied children and Melody. Would you describe it as a true friendship? When situations become monumental and overwhelming to young people, what is likely to happen? Explain.

8. Imagine it is the last day of fifth grade. Write a letter or create a conversation between one of the following pairs of characters:

  • Rose and Melody
  • Melody and Mrs. V
  • Melody and Catherine
  • Mr. D and Melody
  • Melody and Claire

9. Trace the story of one of the following characters. Imagine you are a reporter doing a story on one of their lives. Write everything you know, as well as whatever you can infer about the character in order to write your magazine article.

  • Claire
  • Mrs. V
  • Mr. Dimming
  • Rose
  • Penny

10. You are a reporter at one of the following scenes. Write the story for your newspaper.

  • Student with Disabilities makes Quiz Team
  • Child Struck by Family Car
  • Big Storm Grounds Air Traffic
  • Local Quiz Team Wins Big

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Customer Reviews

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Out of My Mind 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1417 reviews.
smaikens More than 1 year ago
I was emotionally overwhelmed by Out of My Mind, a middle grade novel by Sharon Draper. This is the story of Melody, a 10 year old girl with Cerebral Palsy so severe that she can neither speak nor move independently. Trapped inside Melody's uncooperative body is a brilliant mind with a cutting wit. Melody is relegated to a classroom of special needs kids because she can't communicate & her teachers assume that she is also mentally handicapped. Her world suddenly opens up when she gets a computer with a voice program that allows her to speak. Unfortunately, the rest of the school is not ready to accept Melody. I cheered for Melody while I read this book as I sat at my kitchen table. The conversations she has with her parents and caregivers about being different are gut-wrenching. Melody knows exactly how she is perceived by other kids and adults, including teachers. The conversations between Melody's parents as they comtemplate the birth of their 2nd child moved me to tears. This is more than a book about a girl with special needs. It holds up a mirror for all of us to see how we react to people with disabilities that make us uncomfortable. I encourage everyone to read this.
Flamingnet More than 1 year ago
Imagine having a photographic memory, imagine being extremely smart..... Well that's exactly how eleven year old Melody is except there is one problem, she can't talk or walk. Every day she goes to school to a special class for kids that have problems and every day they go over the alphabet. For her, though, she is past just learning the alphabet. Melody belongs in advanced classes but she has no way of letting anyone know that. Doctors and experts diagnosed her with cerebral palsy and insisted that she wasn't capable of learning. Little did they know she is destined to prove them wrong. With a little help from a friend and a lot of hope, Melody finds what she's been looking for all her life. She will prove to the world what she can accomplish. I've never read any of Sharon Draper's books before, but what caught my eye on this book was the cover. It is very interesting how the fish is jumping out of its bowl and it goes very well with the title. The characters were written very well and sometimes I found myself getting frustrated with some of Melody's problems. I started worrying if it would end okay. Even though it had some sad parts I really enjoyed reading Out of My Mind. I would recommend this for kids 11 and up. Reviewed by a young adult student reviewer Flamingnet Book Reviews Teen books reviewed by teen reviewers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and it was so sweet but so sad. Its a really really really great book and it also just so interesting. I recommend it for readers of all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will make you cry, laugh, and will never let you put it down. A great read for 10 - 13 year olds, espesially girls.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book ever. This a truly inspiring story. It shows that help from people who care about can help you accomplish anything you try to do.
Anomalous More than 1 year ago
I was a little hesitant at first when I bought this book. Now I am glad that I didn't back out! This story is very touching and moving. Instead of being a sappy, sad story, it was encouraging and I was cheering Melody onward. What I also love about this book is that the author really gave a voice for those with cerebral palsy. There is a unique perspective, and I admit that I have felt guilty while reading this book on acting as one of those people who are 'scared' of people with her condition. There's no reason to feel awkward anymore, and I think it is a book that all young readers must read (perhaps as a classroom book) so they are open to discuss it with others and remember this story when it comes to meeting other people with 'odd' conditions and characteristics.
Courtney Midthun More than 1 year ago
I read the free sample and I loved it.It is about this girl that is disabled. It is sad but itis still good.
3240 More than 1 year ago
i recommend this book to kids whom looking for boosters in young diasabled kids lives a great book for sportmenship
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havent even finished the book but it is already amazing. To be placed in the shoes of a disabled student really changes my view on them. It is an amazing book and i'm sure all ages would love it. I had always thought they had it pretty easy but now reading this i can see they have pretty much the same problems as normal people. It is amazing and if i could i would tell everyone in the galaxy to read it. Congratulations Sharon M Draper!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have ever read. It is very relatable, the characters are very well developed, the story is absolutley fantastic and it is incredibly well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was well-written and enjoyable. The perspective of the main character kept me looking at things from a different point of view.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im in 6th grade and doesnt have a lot oof good senceof picking books. But when I read this book I instatly fell in love! This is NOT A WASTE OF YOU TIME AND MONEY!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will truely touch your heart. If you know someone who is disabled this book is for you. The world would be a better place if everyone reads this book. Literally.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A heartwarming story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a good book. Its so good its making me go out of my mind ha ha. I found the book at my schools book fair its just so good. I llllllllooooooovvvvvvvvveeeeee it absolutly love it. I would go out of my mind if was melody . Shes so smart but all the smarts are stuck in her wrighting this revew is macking me teer up .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a pretty tuff sixth grader but as i read this my eyes started to water i know i sound old saying that but its true it is actually true that book made me think alot differently about challenged people and did i mention i almost cried me cried i feel pitiful it is a spectacular book and i am mad at myself for reading it all in one day
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truely insprational. All of my friends loced it. It was a gripping ride with Melody on her road to living her life and everyone earing an listening to her. Fantastic novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great its a sunshine state book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this book melody is disabled and has so much to say. She is almost 11 i think and has never spoken a single word.everyone at school thinks she is so dumb. She finds a add for a special device and uses it to talk! The first thing she saud to her parents was i love you! She is super smart and gets to be on a special team i think. They get to compete agansit each other and her team wins!!!!! They win a trip i think and...... they leave without her. Her heart was crushed if you wanna kniw qhat happens you got to finish the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved "Out of my Mind" !!! The events in this book left me both sad and angry. I was sad because of the way people treated this amazing young girl who was trapped inside an uncooperative body. Melody has cerebral palsy and is always underestimated. Sharon's descriptive writing allowed me to put myself in Melody's place and really experience how she was feeling. I could relate some of her troubles to my own life-- being underestimated, being judged after something happened that I couldn't control. I was so glad I read this book because it changed the way I look at people, especially disabled people. When Melody's fish jumped out of its bowl, she knocked over the tank to give it water. Her mother thought she pushed over the bowl on purpose, either because she didn't know what she was doing or because Melody is unable to control her limbs. I felt very sorry for Melody because of this and that she could not explain to her mother what happened. One of my favorite parts was when Melody got her Medi-Talker and was able to communicate with everyone. I was brought to tears when Melody missed her plane to Washington,D.C. for the Whiz Kids competition since there was a storm and their 12:00 flight was cancelled. None of the other students or parents even notified her that they were having breakfast together and going to the airport early because they thought she would take too long to feed and get ready. They were able to catch an early flight and no one called Melody. This book is great for almost all ages and I truly enjoyed it. I would recommend "Out of my Mind" to everyone I know. It was such a great read and I was extremely impressed by Sharon Draper's ability to get across such great emotion to the reader. You should read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was AMAZING!!! It was about a ten year old who has a disability where she can barely move a thumb or talk. She one day discovers a machine that allows her to talk. Pretty soon everyone sees how bright she is. Dont listen to anyone else its so good and NEVER boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book sososo sooooo much! If there were more than five stars ti rate this book with, than i would rate it a million stars. SO GOOD(SERIOUSLY)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever it really got my attention from the beggining lov it Hit yes if u agree!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will touch your heart and mind deeply and forever make you pause when judging "a book by it's cover". For young adults and children alike it is food for thought and self inquiry.