Friday, June 4, 2010

My Students' Impressions of Out of My Mind

As a class, we finished Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper yesterday. I actually cried as I read the last few chapters to them. For me, this is a very emotional book, so I can't even imagine the emotions Sharon M. Draper had while writing this book, as she has a child with special needs, so it is close to her heart.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you my students' comments about this last read aloud. So, with no further ado, here we go (** beware of spoilers**):

  • I thought this book was great. I was speechless in parts. (JK)
  • It was really interesting to see the world through Melody's point of view because her life is so different from ours. (LK)
  • I didn't know that people who had special needs could know so much. (NU)
  • In this book, there are so many "ifs" and "ands", that if just one of them was different, it would change the story (FM)
  • It made me mad and frustrated when she couldn't put her goldfish back in the bowl. I wondered if Melody's dad had to fix the hole in the wall at the airport. (BK)
  • It made me happy when Melody got on the Whiz Team. (MD)
  • I notice how the book keeps going up and down, happy and sad. (LE)
  • I thought it was an excellent book, and it was terrible how some of the people treated Melody. (MR)
  • I was mad when they left Melody behind when they went to Washington DC. (JA)
  • The book is like a roller coaster. (CA)
  • As we read this book it gained more and more potential. It was like a roller coaster; you sit in the car and next thing you know, you're doing barrel rolls at 110 mph. (MM)
  • It made me mad when Molly and Claire kept using the word "retarded". (BP)
  • It made me happy when Melody got her Medi-Talker because I thought her life was going to be plain without talking. (LB)
  • I thought it was sad when Melody couldn't tell her mom that Penny was behind the car. (HS)
  • I can't believe Rose didn't call Melody that the plane was leaving earlier. (PD)
  • I'm sad Penny got hit by a car. (MC)
  • I can't believe Mr. Dimming didn't check to make sure Melody was on the plane for Washington D.C. (AN)

Finally, we took a vote for our favorite book between When You Reach Me and Out of My Mind. 19 out of 25 students voted for Out of My Mind. That's a great endorsement, in my opinion!


  1. I think *I'm* going to cry, just reading the students' comments and thinking back to my reactions to this book!

    The comment "I didn't know that people who had special needs could know so much" is both heartbreaking and encouraging - proof that books really can affect our real world perceptions!

  2. What wonderful reflections from your students. It reminds me how powerful some books and stories are. They can make us look at the world a whole new way. Thanks for sharing. I will have to add this book to my summer reading list.

  3. I read Out of My Mind on your recommendation and I want to say "thank you". I am an elementary school librarian and quite likely might have missed it because Sharon Draper usually writes for older kids. I have ordered it for my library and actually let several people read my library copy after I finished it.
    One of my favorite books when I was in about 5th grade (I think it was "Karen"--it was many years ago) was about a girl with cerebral palsy and it made a huge impression on me and changed my view of people with disabilities.

  4. Karen I watched the copy we had of this book surreptitiously make its way around the sixth grade girls here at my school the last two months of the school year, reinforcing what I've always believed about this age group: they are ready to read emotional things which draws their empathy to the surface. I believe this is also why there is a clamor at the end of the year for holocaust books. Thanks for sharing your student's comments.