Draper, S. (2010). Out of my mind. New York, NY. Athenum Books for Young Readers. 295 pp (Grade Level: 5th-8th)
Melody loves words, and uses them all the time in her head, but her Cerebral Palsy prevents her from saying any of them. People on the most part treat her as if she has no intelligence whatsoever, until she gets a Medi-Talker that allows her to type words and phrases and communicate with people. And even though she has overcome the speaking challenge, and teachers and classmates are beginning to realize how smart she is, there are still plenty of challenges left to overcome.
Out of My Mind is a well written, thoroughly thought out novel. Draper weaves a tale for her readers not only about an intelligent girl whose potential is hidden, but about judging people, about loving people, and about how the small and large things we do make a difference. This is an important read for late elementary and middle school students because it challenges how they think, and encourages them to change. Another way it could be used in the classroom is to ask the students the WizKid questions before and after they have read to see how well they were paying attention, and (especially if they are in 5th grade like Melody is) to show them how smart these WizKid students are. Students could also write autobiographies. This book will open lots of discussion on many topics, necessary discussion about how human beings should be treated.