Saturday, April 9, 2016

#MustReadin2016 Out of My Mind 4/36

There are books that just touch your heart and stay with you, making themselves quite comfortable, with a cozy blanket, in your soul. The last page read, the book closed, yet the story is now part of you.  Melody's story is just like that and Out of My Mind is a book that won't soon be forgotten.

I've read so much about books being like mirrors and windows and the need for both in a child's library. For students without a physical disability, Out of My Mind is that window to a world where you have the most amazing thoughts, but an inability to speak them. Reading this book as a parent, I could empathize with Melody but also with her parents and the challenges they would face raising a child with a severe form of cerebral palsy. I can imagine this would be a powerful mirror for a child who had a similar disability to Melody's and would ease those feelings of being "different" and "the only one like this." 

Out of My Mind painted an interesting picture of schools as places that are not always welcoming for students with disabilities, especially the ones that are obvious and hard to hide. Some teachers were quite awful. Melody's first hand account of finally being included in mainstream classes and desperately wanting to be "normal" was so incredibly moving. Parts near the end really tugged at my heart and there were tears as this book came to an end. Melody's story is one that should be read widely.

I think this book is really important, in addition to being incredibly well-written. I want my students to understand that a person with a disability often has many capabilities and is a person worthy of respect, kindness, and fair treatment. I think Melody's story will encourage kids to see people with disabilities in a whole new way. I hope it might make them think twice before they snap to judge a person. 

I highly, highly recommend Out of My Mind. It is brilliant. I plan on reading it aloud to my third graders for many reasons, one being that I just can't wait to read it again!

4/36 on #MustReadin2016

I also completed 5/36- Peace is Every Step. I read it last month for my book club. The importance of presence, breathing, and knowing that you can be happier right where you are in your life were valuable reminders.