Published in 2010, Sharon M. Draper’s novel Out of My Mind stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for two years. Written from the perspective of Melody Brooks, an eleven-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, Out of My Mind gives a window onto the special challenges as well as the ordinary difficulties and triumphs of a highly-intelligent yet physically disabled girl. Draper has commented that her experience as the mother of a child with developmental difficulties inspired the novel, though she did not base the book’s central character, Melody, on her daughter. By recreating the world as filtered through Melody’s consciousness, Draper intended to depict a person with disabilities who could be accepted as a person and character without eliciting the reader’s pity. She has said that she wrote the book as a tribute to people who are familiar with differently-abled people, and as a window into Melody’s experience for people who are inclined to look away when they encounter someone who faces life with obvious difficulties.
Of its many accolades, Out of My Mind received the Best Children’s Book of 2010, the Beehive Book Award, the Black-eyed Susan Book Award, the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List 2011–2012, the Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Book, the Virginia Readers’ Choice Reading List for 2011-2012, and the 2011 Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award.