Out of my mind
By Sharon Draper
Melody Brooks 11 years old, was born with cerebral palsy. Her parents have done all they can to help her live a normal life, but life is often frustrating for Melody because she cannot speak or communicate her wishes. In fact, Melody was even diagnosed as profoundly different when she was five. Melody's mother enrolled her in public school to give her the opportunities she needed to succeed.
Mrs. V., Melody's neighbor, is a kind, but tough woman, who pushes Melody to do the best she can. Mrs. V. was not content to allow three year old Melody to rely on her parents for everything. For this reason, Mrs. V. forced Melody to learn how to roll over and how to crawl. Mrs. V. even taught Melody how to catch herself whenever she fell from her wheelchair. This things helped Melody become more self-sufficient. However, Melody continues to be reliant on her parents to feed her, to help her go to the bathroom, and she would never learn to speak.
When Melody is eight, her mother becomes pregnant. Melody can overhear them talking about the new baby and their fears that she will suffer the same disabilities as Melody. Melody feels guilty and ashamed when she overhears these conversations. However, even Melody is happy when the baby, Penny, is born perfectly normal.
As Penny grows and matures, Melody feels a little jealous that a baby is doing all the things she will never be able to do. However, Melody adores her little sister and is pleased with the pleasure the baby brings her parents.
When Melody begins fifth grade, the new teacher brings a great deal of change, including an inclusion program that allows the special education children to join normal classes. Melody even gets an aide to help her with the classes. Melody enjoys the classes, but she dislikes the way the other students assume that she is stupid. Even the teacher assumes Melody cannot participate and is surprised when she not only participates, but passes the test exam of a trivia competition with a perfect score.
Melody participates in the qualifying exam to be part of the trivia competition and once again surprises everyone when she makes the team. Melody then helps the team win the qualifying competition to win a trip to Washington, D.C. for the national competition. However, on the day the group is to fly to Washington, Melody learns her flight has been canceled due to weather, but the rest of the team has made an earlier flight without her.
The following day, Melody insists on going to school. It is raining and Melody's mother is tired, sick, and frustrated. Therefore, when Melody kicks, hits, and screams to warn her mother that Penny has slipped out of the house and is in the path of the car, her mother fails to understand. Penny is hit by the car and injured. Melody feels bad for not being able to warn her mother even though everyone, especially Mrs. V. assures her it is not her fault. In the end, Melody learns that Penny is going to be fine. Her class also apologizes for their lack of consideration toward her.