Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

I stumbled upon this book because of an assignment my son has in his class to read 8 award winners by the end of the year. I have struggled to find award winners for him to read. This book is the winner of the following awards: Buckeye Children's Book Award for 6-8 (2011), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Nominee (2012), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee (2010) and the Beehive awards which is an award done through Utah and the children and parents are voters. That is why I selected the book. I am so glad I did. Sometimes I have to prime the pump to get him to read books that he doesn't select on his own. This was one of those times. I picked it up and quickly became captivated by the heroine who is a brilliant girl trapped by a body that won't respond. It is written from her point of view and done in such a way that will change forever your perception of those we label disabled.  It's a sad story as she makes her way through school with teachers good and bad and eventually is able to communicate through new technology.  She thinks she is making friends but sadly they are unable to accept her completely. It's hard to see past the flailing limbs and drool.  Her champions - her parents and neighbor - never give up and fight so hard for her but in the end it is her determination and will that allow her to navigate life.  It's not a book with a happy ending but most of life isn't about happy endings. It's a book that champions those who cannot voice for themselves and it will change you.  This is a great one for dialog with your children.  I believe it would be a fantastic read aloud book for kids ages 8 and up.  It's also one you could co-read. You read and they read and then you get to discuss. My son came up to me tonight and said, "You were right mom.  I will never be able to look at people with disabilities the same way again.  She's jealous of a baby because the baby gets to learn how to crawl, walk and feed herself."' It makes you think and that is something we all need to do, especially when it comes to those who are different from us.