Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Out of My Mind" by Sharon Draper

I'm reading this great book written from Melody's perspective. She is a 5th grader with Cerebral Palsy and can't talk. She communicates by pointing to words and letters on her board, but it is pretty limited. Melody is actually brilliant and has a photographic memory, but no one really knows this - but Melody.

I love this book and it makes me think about the kids I know who are locked inside their worlds. My kids too - even though they have different disabilities than Melody.

So Melody is being mainstreamed and made a friend, Rose. She invited Rose to go to an aquarium with her family and a neighbor, Mrs V. Mrs V is a big woman who is one of Melody's biggest supporters. In Melody's inclusion classes, there are these two girls who are just mean. The tease Melody and her classmates.

On the trip to the aquarium, the group runs into these mean girls. They corner Rose and ask why she is there with Melody. Rose is uncomfortable and didn't give a specific answer. Mrs V gets involved and what she says is brilliant and I want to remember it forever.

Page 120:
Mrs V, however, isn't going to let anybody stop her. From her almost-six-foot height, she towers over Molly and Claire. "You! Girl with braces on her teeth!" Claire looks up at her, stunned.

"Yes, ma'am?" Claire has enough sense to say.

"Why do you think your parents spent good money on getting you braces?"

"Huh?" Claire looks confused. Molly has quietly disappeared into her Scout troop.

"Your teeth were imperfect, so your parents got you braces. One day you'll thank them when you get a date for the prom," Mrs V roars. The whole Scout troop, plus a few other visitors to the aquarium, stop to listen to her.

"What do my teeth have to do with anything?" Claire asks, looking around nervously.

"Some people get braces on their teeth. Some get braces on their legs. For others, braces won't work, so they need wheelchairs and walkers and such. You're a lucky girl that you only had messed-up teeth. Remember that."

See! I love that!!!! I want to remember that when someone makes fun of my kids or their friends! Brilliant... Hopefully that gives you something to think about - it sure did for me. In fact, I got out of bed, turned the computer on and shared it with you!

Happy New Year, by the way!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love it. Would like to add that not all disabilities are easily seen. Some kids look normal on the outside, but can have quiet, anonymous, yet huge struggles and diagnoses that few are aware of. Our world, even if it's just Venice, Fl, could sure use a dose of tolerance and acceptance.

I love your blog! Happy New Year Kristin!