Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Out of My Mind

Simon & Schuster 2012. 312 pages
First published: 2010
ISBN: 9781416971719 (paperback)
9781416971702 (hardcover)
9781416980452 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

character, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Eleven-year-old Melody is highly intelligent but she’s locked in a body that cannot functionally move or speak. As she reviews her life history, access and inclusion for differently abled people is exposed as inadequate and inept: within the medical system, at school and in individuals’ own hearts and minds. Luckily Melody has extremely supportive parents, a loving baby sister and a dog—and the belief of her strong-willed neighbour, Mrs. V. When Melody succeeds in her “inclusion classes” and excels at the regional Whiz Kids competition, she garners the praise and attention of everyone who ever doubted her humanity. But her palsy remains a block to total integration with her peer group, so Melody turns to writing her own story.

Eloquent language makes this outsider’s story an eye-opening read, conveying the enormous challenges of having an active mind inside a frozen body. Melody’s interior voice is full of the charm and humour of an articulate young girl. “In spite of my little display of weirdness that Tuesday in class, I showed up at practice Wednesday afternoon as if nothing had happened.”

Meanwhile, the book’s uplifting message of hope and persistence is emphasized by its finish, with Melody starting her autobiography for a school project: “This is going to take a while. So much is stuffed inside my mind. I have lots to say and just one thumb to say it with.”

  •  Discuss the possible challenges faced by people who do not communicate verbally. As you read, add to, reflect on and revise your understanding through discussion, illustration and writing.
  •  

    A book cover and title often reveal one or more of the central ideas of a story. Make predictions about the book based on these. Read the first chapter and adjust your predictions about how the story will develop and conclude.

  •  Use a cause and effect graphic organizer to record how different characters perceive and act toward Melody and the effect of these perceptions and actions.
  •  How is technology evolving to improve communication? What are the benefits and limitations of this technology?
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture