Friday KidLit Book Review: Out of my mind

Out of My Mind 
by Sharon M. Draper
Welcome to my ongoing Summer Friday KidLit feature. Today I review Out of My Mind, about a 5th grader with severe physical disabilities but a brilliant mind.

As A Reader: I was hooked by this book right away, and found myself carrying it around with me to have on hand during the little gaps and spaces of my day. I loved being put inside the head of someone facing such different challenges than mine. It was engaging and tugged on my heartstrings. I loved it and would love to see every 5th grade in the nation reading this book as a class.

As A Mom: This is a great book for generating rich conversation about disability, diversity, and friendship. While the main character's situation is pretty severe (she can't move, can't talk, can't write, feed herself, etc.) she has an amazing attitude, and a good dose of humor, that keeps the book from getting too intense for sensitive readers. I had no qualms about my kids reading this one.

As A Writer: This book has great voice, and I admired how the story got progressively more involved. The first third was spent establishing her "normal" and the voice, and generating empathy and attachment in the reader. The acquisition of a talking machine gave the middle a strong focus, and then the trivia quiz scenes, which made up the final third of the book, nicely tied everything together and supplied some suspense and closure. So well done!

My Daughter's Perspective: She read this before I did, in one long sitting, and loved it. She said it made her think differently about the kids she sees at school who are in her school's equivalent to the main character's class. Love it when a book makes her see the world with greater understanding and empathy! 

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